PASTOR W. FRANKLYN RICHARDSON
CORRUPT SUPERINTENDENT JUDITH JOHNSON
CORRUPT SCHOOL VICE PRESIDENT LEN SARVER
CORRUPT SCHOOL TRUSTEE ELIAS GOOTZEIT
CORRUPT SCHOOL TRUSTEE FRANCES WYNN
FORMER SCHOOL TRUSTEE CAROL BEN-REUBEN
FORMER SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEE LYNN MCBRIDE
There has long been speculation that there has been severe mismanagement and corruption plaguing the Mount Vernon City School District. Upwards of over $250 million dollars have been squandered away over the past 15 years. School officials have remained silent on this issue. Mount Vernon has the highest property taxes in the nation, yet Mount Vernon schools remain one of the worst in the state.
School Board Vice President Len Sarver has said on many occasions that past Board Members were corrupt, and the $100 million Bond that was approved in April 2000, and made available in 2002 was stolen.
When CEPA (Black Ministers) took power in 1997, CEPA and City Officials were determined to provide jobs for their friends and family members. However, their main goal was making themselves rich. Educating children was not going to be a priority of the CEPA administration. A golden opportunity to cash in on this moneymaking scheme came when voters approved a 100 million bond. This bond was to be used to build Longfellow Middle School and Grimes elementary school.
Prior to 2002, Mt Vernon schools were immaculately maintained. They had a very good buildings and grounds department headed by Buildings and Grounds Superintendent Robin Cole, and Maintenance Foreman, Steven Lewis. These two gentlemen performed their jobs effectively, and supervised the employees who cleaned and maintained the schools in the City Of Mt Vernon.
CEPA was not happy with Robin Cole because he demanded production and accountability from the workers. CEPA hired people who had no intentions of working. This caused friction between Robin Cole, CEPA, and the CEPA backed board members.
It is difficult to steal money earmarked for the construction and repair of school buildings with an honest Buildings and Grounds management in place. Sources have informed Mount Vernon Exposed that members of CEPA and City Hall officials asked Robin Cole and Stevin Lewis to be part of the heist, or turn their back on the robbing of children and taxpayer’s monies.
Mr. Cole and Mr. Lewis wanted no part of any illegal activity. CEPA, City Hall and its board members had to get Mr. Cole and Mr. Lewis out of the way. Civil Service law prevented the firing of them, so on June 30, 2002; the last day the current board could vote in that school year, and at the direction of CEPA, the board terminated the entire position of Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds. The Maintenance Foreman position was also terminated. The resolutions were 02-406, and 02-405. This action opened the way for people to get their hands on the $100,000,000 bond earmarked for the repair of the aging school infrastructure.
After the elimination of the aforementioned positions, no one was watching the spending of the $100 Million bond. Mt Vernon schools began to deteriorate, and some became dangerous, as witnessed by the wall collapse at the high school. The board members who terminated these positions in 2002 were, Rev Darin Moore, Francis Wynn, Carol Ben Rubin, Gerald Coleman, Diane Munro, Marleen Dandridge, Lynn McBride, and Gloria Colman.
With the positions eliminated and their hand picked puppets in place on the school board, the path was now cleared for CEPA to come in and steal the money. Money then went missing. So much money went missing that additional bonds totaling $28 million were obtained at the expense of taxpayers to finish projects. Longfellow Middle School and Grimes Elementary School were poorly planned, and poorly built. Longfellow Middle School doesn’t even have an auditorium, which is unbelievable and inexcusable in this day and age.
With the Buildings and Grounds management gone, the black ministers and City Officials began to hire a slew of unqualified and sometimes dangerous people to maintain school buildings. Some of the hires were alleged to be convicted felons and sex offenders. The district still presently employs some of these CEPA hires. Because management was terminated, there was no oversight of workers in the building. Workers slept on the job, had late night parties in the schools, and alcohol was consumed. A portion of the workers did not show up at all to work, yet they continued to get paid. This type of behavior continues to exist under the direction of Judith Johnson. Mount Vernon schools are falling apart, and we now have dangerous people on payroll roaming our schools. To this day, no one is supervising school workers, because officials refuse to bring back a Buildings and Grounds department. For over 13 years, workers have not been properly supervised.
In 2007, the Mount Vernon City School district hired Aramark, an inept company, who employed an employee who was just convicted for stealing $35,000 from the school district. When is Amarak going to pay back the stolen money from the people of Mount Vernon? Aramark has been horrible. Lenny Sarver is very close to Aramark, a company that rakes in huge amounts of money from the district.
Another relationship that Federal investigators might be interested in is the uncanny connection between Lenny Sarver and D’Angelo and Fuller, an Architectural Company who has a long-standing relationship with Rev Franklyn Richardson. D’Angelo and Fuller gets a 10% premium from contracts of work performed in the school district. No one knows why. This has taken millions of dollars away from the education of the children of Mt Vernon.
A Superintendent search committee has been established. Trustee Gootzeit and Judith Johnson head it, which is not proper protocol. A member of the search committee is Pastor Stephen Pogue of Greater Centennial Church in Mount Vernon. Greater Centennial has long been involved in the meddling of Mount Vernon schools. Greater Centennial and Grace Baptist Church are the main culprits in the ruining of the Mount Vernon School System, and the destruction of a generation of our children. Former Centennial Pastor Darin Moore preached politics from the pulpit, and was a member of the school board when $100,000,000 was stolen. Pastor Pogue has continued the illegal politics of Darin Moore, and is in violation of United States and IRS law. Pastor Pogue has only been in Mount Vernon for one year, however he is on the committee to pick a Superintendent. What a shame.
The Superintendent search process is a total scam. It is designed to hire a Superintendent who is favorable to the churches and City Hall. The interest of children and taxpayers are again dismissed. This process is such a scam, that many board members are prevented from reviewing the resumes of the candidates. This is outrageous and illegal. Judith Johnson and the school attorney have purposely, willfully, and illegally kept the resumes from the other board members.
Greater Centennial continues to suck the school district dry. Year after year Greater Centennial uses the Mount Vernon High School to host and annual New Year’s service. This year it will cost ten thousand dollars, which will be billed to the school district. This is illegal. The ten thousand dollars the district will incur should be used to educate children. Whatever happened to the separating of church and state?
As per NY State law, a school board has fiduciary responsibility for the operations of the school district. It is responsible for ensuring that a School district meets all legal requirements, operates in accordance with its mission, and uses its assets appropriately.
Our school board members are being “set up” to become personally responsible for the illegal activities of the district. Most board members don’t read, or investigate what Judith Johnson has them voting for. Board members can be held responsible for approving illegal contracts. Board members need to spend proper time to investigate what the Superintendent, or Lenny Sarver is putting in front of them. They need to stop rubberstamping illegal activity. The New York State Department of Education performed an audit of The Mount Vernon School District, which covers the period between July 1, 1999, and March 31 2001. Several issues were uncovered, including board members not having proper insight on monies spent. It seems as if nothing has changed. Where is the new audit? It should be a priority.
Yes, Lenny Sarver, they stole the money, and with your help, they continue to do so.