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Education

Lawyer Ties Charter Schools in Ohio to a $19 Million Real Estate Scam

photo of Robert Amsterdam
KAREN KASLER
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

An American lawyer hired by the Turkish government to investigate charter schools connected to a Muslim cleric accused of being behind a coup in Turkey in July says he’s finished his probe.

He says charter schools in Ohio have been part of a massive real estate scam, and he’s turning what he found out about the schools over to the state auditor for further investigation. 

Robert Amsterdam says he’s found 17 Horizon Science Academies and Noble Academies in Ohio brought in $19 million through a real estate scam masterminded by Concept Schools. And he says that reclusive Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, an enemy of Turkish President Recep Erdogan, benefitted from that money.

“It is not for their children’s education. Interestingly, it is to promote an organization that hides itself from the very people that are supporting it.”

A spokesman for Concept Schools says similar allegations in the past were found to be untrue by the auditor, and he says that will be the case this time, too. And he notes that Amsterdam’s report was presented by ProgressOhio, an organization affiliated with teachers’ unions and a big critic of charter schools.