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Arizona: The Charter School Scam of the Month, Perhaps the Year

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I previously reported that Arizona legislator Eddie Farnsworth was making a bundle by selling his for-profit charter chain to a nonprofit charter chain for millions of dollars, and that he had selected the members of the board of the new nonprofit and would get a contract from that board to manage the charter schools. All in all, a triumph of self-dealing.

Now new details have emerged about what a sweet deal this is for Mr. Farnsworth.

An Arizona legislator selling his state-funded charter school business will receive money from consulting work, rent and a loan to the chain beyond pocketing $13.9 million from the $56.9 million transaction itself.

The Arizona Republic reports that Gilbert Republican Rep. Eddie Farnsworth will make $78,000 of interest by loaning the Benjamin Franklin school chain $2.8 million for operating cash and be paid $79,600 in rent and an unspecified amount for consulting work.

Farnsworth declined to discuss the deal’s financial particulars but said he’s run Benjamin Franklin for 24 years and that he’s entitled to benefit from the transaction.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman says Farnsworth is legally pocketing the money but that it’s not right.

A nonprofit whose directors Farnsworth recruited is acquiring Benjamin Franklin.

What’s new? Well, the new State Superintendent of Public Instruction was just elected, and she thinks this whole deal stinks. The previous state superintendent, Republican Diane Douglas, didn’t seem to care, didn’t raise any objection.

Kathy Hoffman, an educator, was swept into office with the blue mini-wave in Arizona a few weeks ago.

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