PI Story on Grace of Mercy

Several readers who are keeping up (bless you, I took time out to go to an Oscars party) pointed out this article in the PI. Remember when I said that reading through the SAO interviews I saw one vendor who seemed the most mysterious? And, that I thought this was the one that Potter could be using to funnel money to various people (including himself)?

Grace of Mercy, the focus of the article, is that vendor. No one at the district who got interviewed seemed to know anything about them (and yet know of other vendors). Silas Potter hand delivered their invoices.

From the article:

TACOMA - A non-descript brown house with a heavy door and a "no solicitors" sign stands at the dead end of a south Tacoma street.

It's rental house owned by David A. Johnson and home to two companies - Grace of Mercy and Allstate Surveillance & Security - that, according to the Washington state Auditor, received $353,000 in Seattle Public Schools money spent for reasons unclear.

Why this is disturbing:

Johnson's security firm -- Allstate Surveillance & Security -- was paid $190,000 for services outside the small business program operated by Potter. The auditors did not examine the legitimacy of that contract or review the small works payments on Potters' watch made outside the small business program.

This is in addition to the $163k that that Grace of Mercy received for the Small Business works.

Here's a link to the Allstate website.


Guichon said…
Keep the light on this company, Melissa, keep the light on it.....
Anonymous said…
"Kennedy, the CFO, said that even in hindsight, and even though the troubled program with all its red flags was in his department, he wouldn't have done a thing differently."

Pretty scary when you see this quote in context to this story!

anonymous said…
Copied from an earlier thread

"Also: Grace of Mercy’s business license expired on Oct 31, 2008, long before they ceased billing the schools."
Jan said…

Mr. Kennedy is just adopting the attitudes of his fearless leader (and why not -- it has worked so well for her). Remember the interview when she was asked to comment on her failures -- and her response was -- she never fails? We need to let these folks go off and "not fail" on someone else's dollar, and with someone else's kids' educations at stake -- not ours.
And, while I am on the subject of MGJ's famous slogans, it seems to me that if "everyone accountable" means, for teachers and principals, that their heads roll if their students don't perform well on standardized tests -- regardless of whether the cause is bad teaching, family issues, a badly constructed or administered exam, etc. -- it should also mean, for MGJ and her CFOO, that THEIR heads roll when their administrations perform horribly (allegations of fraud, misappropriation of funds, unsupervised and inappropriate personal service contracts, poor administrative control, leading to an atmosphere of intimidation and retaliation, etc.).

Personally, I see no reason to believe either of them when they claim ignorance, because I find neither of them to be credible. But, even if they DIDN'T know -- doesn't their standard of accountability, which includes firing people for results that are bad, even if not in their control, mean they should go?

Let's see some leadership by example here, and let's see the Superintendent and her CFOO resign, with no request for a buy out, as a statement of their accountability.
Maureen said…
I was on the District's Budget page looking for the 11'12 PurpleBook numbers (not posted yet from what I can see) and ran across this list of NON-GRANT PERSONAL SERVICE CONTRACTS.

It looks to me like about $900,000 contracted to be paid to outside vendors this year. It includes $80,000 for the Urban League to be paid out of the Ed Directors' line item.
Chris S. said…
OK, Maureen, looks like you can have your pick of many high-level jobs. Which would you like to interview for?
Maureen said…
This comment has been removed by the author.

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