He found big money in an unlikely place — a regional agency serving disabled children. And then investigators closed in. 9/18/2011 (The Boston Globe)
In June, 2011, I posted the story of John Barranco, a former school superintendent in Massachusetts, the director of a special education collaborative and director of a related non-profit education center who allegedly fleeced school districts and taxpayers for an excess of $10 million dollars. Some published estimates exceed $30 million.
The allegations dealing with this man and his buddies come at the expense of the most vulnerable population on the face of the earth, disabled children. Hell is reserved for people who abuse and neglect the disabled children. Fleecing money from their services is abuse! In the words of G.K. Chesterton"...the young demand justice; the rest of us beg for mercy!"
The story exposes outrageous salaries and bonuses of $500,000 a year, no show jobs for friends, trips with friends to the Kentucky Derby, expensive cigars, parties for directors where the average person has 8 drinks, gifts to his daughter. Of course, he hired his live-in for an outrageous salary and had his fellow buddy superintendents placed on the boards of both organizations he ran. The allegations are pages long and referenced in my June 2011 blog. The allegations boggle the mind.
So now he has two vacation homes (Florida and New Hampshire), paid for in cash and he is unresponsive to requests for comments. His cohorts are also silent. The disabled drool, sit in wheelchairs, and cry for a response.
"To win the approval of the two agreements, Barranco and Clisbee relied on overlapping boards of directors at the Collaborative and the Center to push them through, Sullivan’s investigation concluded. Because of the overlap, five superintendents voted twice to approve the pacts, once on behalf of the Collaborative and again on behalf of the Center, another conflict of interest.
Moreover, Barranco later awarded three of those board members high-paying jobs at the Center: James McCormick, now the superintendent of schools in Mason, N.H.; Robert Calabrese, who is dead; and David Hawkins, who appears to be still working for the Center.
|The MEC Board of Directors|
None of these individuals returned numerous calls from the Globe." Boston Globe, 9/18/2011
So Barranco is non-communicative. The local Superintendents who sat on the Boards? Well, some were were handsomely rewarded by jobs upon retirement from the public sector. Others were wined and dined in style. Were they simply unknowing dupes? Superintendent of Schools are usually not known for blatant stupidity ( I realize this is a generalization but I personally know several who are really stupid.). Were they collaborators in a scheme which rewarded them handsomely? Did they approve tuition rates and fiscal contracts which screwed the disabled and resulted in needless school spending resulting in higher taxes and staff layoffs. Did they know the effects of the money allegedly fleeced from or by them? I am sure that they will be investigated as there are multiple state and federal investigations in progress. Do these guys even care? What would be the honorable thing to do?
(1) Let's start with an admission of responsibility and greed? Quickly followed by an apology!
(2) Let's have an acknowledgement of the pain endured by society's most vulnerable?
(3) Let's return the money and gifts to the disabled and the taxpayers?
(4) Let's apologize to the teachers who were laid off because of your greed?
(5) Let's divulge all the facts in truth: who knew, who helped, who benefited?
In the long run, repeated silence and denials will only succeed in costing taxpayers more money in investigations, prosecutions, trials and appeals...money already allegedly fleeced from the disabled and citizens. Of course, the Massachusetts Department of Education (DESE) deserves no kudos for its oversight of special education collaboratives, but they will defend their incompetence on budgetary bases. No one is ever responsible, only the vulnerable suffer. For once, Mr. Barranco and conspirators, simply do the right thing.
All details, subpoenas, audit reports are referenced in my June blog with additions.