Open Thread For July 15, 2017

Filed in Delaware, National by on July 15, 2017 22 Comments

City Council’s Slush Fund. It was easy pickin’s for serial grifter Theo Gregory. I rarely quote from articles, I’d rather have you read them, but this can’t be ignored:

In this atmosphere, former Council President Theo Gregory granted nearly $600,000 over four years to Education Voices, Inc. – a nonprofit he founded the month he took office.  

$600K of taxpayer dollars to Theo’s own nonprofit.  He’s in Nicole Poore territory. Elected scam artists.

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What do you want to talk about?

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  1. Paul Hayes says:

    I have a child who desperately needed an education advocate 25 years ago or so. Education Voices may be helpful or not, depending on who comes to their door. One “tell” is that none of the staff have training in special education, where a lot of “problems” crop up. Also discouraging is that the most trained of the three employees has an MBA, not what I thought was the training needed to help students. From my perspective, it’s too bad he didn’t reach out to people in Delaware who actually have knowledge and skills now, as a result of their own struggles with school systems. We are here in Delaware. As for the money, the optics are terrible. But we would have done anything to help our child, even set up a non-profit, had we thought of it.

  2. Jeez, just checked out their website:

    http://educationvoices.comcastbiz.net/

    Three staff? One receptionist, one ‘Administrative Assistant’ who is an undergrad and once was a receptionist at a veterinarian hospital, and one Devon Hynson, who just got an MBA and was a ‘volunteer advocate for 15-plus years’. Where the bleep is that $600K going? Any of it into Theo’s pocket? This sounds like a classic money grab. Oh, and nobody has bothered to audit it or the Slush Fund. Where the bleep is the AG?

  3. BTW, Hynson ran three times in D primaries for City Council. Never got more than 11.73% of the vote. Gregory has been funding this guy using taxpayer $$’s.

    Anybody upset yet?

  4. Paul Hayes says:

    Yes. Three staff. Not necessarily 3 people who intervene. As I said, the CVs of the staff raise a red flag for me. I have interviewed potential “helpers” in special education who have no idea of what they are doing. This organization’s information is NOT encouraging. I suspect these folks are more about legal represention than special ed, a reaction to school systems that admittedly don’t handle “special” well. Schools don’t handle “legal” well either, IMHO.

  5. meatball says:

    That’s only $150k a year. If that’s their only funding, that doesn’t seem unreasonable provided they actually ya know, did anything. The bios are ridiculous though.

  6. alby says:

    Devon Hynson is a good guy who advocated for many years for minority kids who got kicked out of school or screwed by the system, and he did indeed do it for free. He’s not the problem here.

  7. He may be a good guy. And, yes, the slush fund with no oversight is the problem.

    But he’s sure the beneficiary. With Theo and an ethically-bankrupt city government running interference.

    Does Education Voices issue any reports about how many kids it helps and what kind of help it provides? If so, there’s nothing of the sort at the website. Don’t care how good a guy he is if he’s collecting public money while doing nothing. And, as of now, there’s no organizational accountability that I’ve been able to find.

    Can anyone help me out/set me straight?

  8. alby says:

    By “good guy,” I mean he’s not “doing nothing.” I know nothing about this organization, but I dealt with Hynson for 10 years when he was doing this for free on a solo basis. If he was willing to do it with no compensation, I seriously doubt he’s “doing nothing” now that he (supposedly) has some.

    Of course there should be accountability, and since Theo Gregory is involved, of course there isn’t. But my guess is some of this was spent on lawyers, which is where Hynson’s lack of funds stifled his work in the past.

  9. alby says:

    Actual reason I”m here this morning is to post this story for Jason, by Lucian Truscott IV on how and when the Republicans went off the rails:

    http://www.salon.com/2017/07/15/stop-making-sense/

    Short answer: Newt Gingrich.

  10. One of the most overlooked–but most impactful– changes of the Gingrich Era was legislation that led to the concentration of news media into a small group of oligarchs. Legislation pushed most arduously by Rupert Murdoch. Also strongly supported by, wait for it, Bill Clinton:

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/34789-democracy-in-peril-twenty-years-of-media-consolidation-under-the-telecommunications-act

    It’s why even so-called ‘liberal’ outlets are controlled by corporate behemoths.

  11. chris says:

    My guess would be Theo probably got half the money kicked back to himself or family members. FBI should investigate this travesty….
    Where is Bud Freel, chairman of the Finance Committee, to reform this? Bud and Loretta always like to squawk when things go wrong, but do very little when these shenanigans happen under their watch.

  12. meatball says:

    Again the money doesn’t seem that extreme, provided they actually advocate and provide services. Overhead on that office looks to be about $30k/ year receptionist $25,000, administrative assistant $40k? That leaves $55k for him to pay himself and do whatever the organization does. Doesn’t seem like that much money even if it only helps a handful of kids.

  13. Meatball: That’s not the issue. The issue is that $600K of public money has been spent by Theo Gregory with literally no public oversight whatsoever.

  14. alby says:

    @ES: As you know, lack of oversight in city government does not stop with this one highly questionable expenditure. If Theo wanted to set this up, he should have done it on his own. But then, if he knew how to raise any money he’d probably still be in office.

    It’s not just the city, either. DEDO never in its existence released the results of its deals (the News Journal might have done so but they got rid of their data-based reporting guru some years back). Kowalko squawked about this so much over the years that Carney privatized the whole thing.

  15. Yep, and as you know, lack of oversight is not merely a problem with city finances. It’s all over state government as well, especially if your name is Nicole Poore, Tom Sharp, Dick Cathcart, Colin Bonini, Tony DeLuca, Lonnie George, Mark Brainard, Rebecca Walker, the list goes on forever. The list also extends to anybody who is buds with Tom Wagner.

  16. alby says:

    Ever thought of crowdsourcing an actual list? It would be a valuable online resource for journalists all over the state.

  17. You know, when I started blogging, it didn’t occur to me that I’d write so much about the casual corruption and blatant featherbedding that goes on in Delaware. But that’s where the facts took me.

  18. Kelly says:

    As far a City Council Slush Fund, I think it is time for The FBI to start checking out all of the City Politician. From the City Treasure on down.

  19. Citizen of Delaware says:

    All of the cities and town municipalities need to be looked into, especially the ones with elected mayors and council members who make decisions based on who their friends are. Some are in it for egos and being in control of something.

  20. alby says:

    The US attorneys office would direct any such investigation. I don’t believe the state currently has a US attorney, does it?

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