Listen to Hitting Left with guest Matt Farmer

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

'No need for further inquiry' in D.C. charter corruption case

Right-wing think-tankers at the Fordham Foundation are jumping for joy. Why? Because their boy, charter school board chairman and United Bank V.P. Thomas Nida, won’t have to stand trial for turning charter school business into his own company's profits.

District Attorney General Peter Nickles cut Nida loose, declaring, "I find no need for further inquiry." No surprise there. As D.C. folks know quite well, money talks, B.S. walks. This, even though WaPo’s account makes clear that Nida and other charter board officials, “had taken part in official decisions that stood to benefit themselves, their colleagues, their employers or companies with which they have business ties. In all, those decisions involved almost $200 million in business deals at more than a third of the city's charter schools.”

So I guess that Nickles’ decision means turning schools into corporate cash cows is OK (legal), especially if you’re among the rich, white and powerful, and especially if it takes place charter schools, where accountability is at its lowest.

Interesting side note #1—Nickles is a political hack and Mayor Fenty’s former general counsel. Fenty appointed Nickles (Mayor appoints the Attorney General ??? Why hasn't Mayor Daley thought of that?). He also hired Michelle Rhee as schools boss to oversee the private management of schools. Rhee has taken the lead in privatizing control of the charter schools. I guess you could say Fenty has his bases covered.

Interesting side note #2--When the former black, woman charter board exec, Brenda Belton, was caught doing the exact same thing as Nida, she went to jail for 35 months.

A second inquiry of board corruption by the Office of Campaign Finance, is still ongoing. Maybe they can still nail him.

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