Lawyer says schools in Texas commit ‘systemic fraud’ as those in other states
Attorney Robert Amsterdam announces recent developments in the civil suit of Fethullah Gulen during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, United St on March 31, 2016.
By Kasim Ileri
Amsterdam & Partners LLP law firm will file a complaint against Gulen-linked charter schools in Texas, co-founder of the firm said Thursday.
Robert Amsterdam told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington that the complaint reveals a series of financial and administrative misconduct in and among Gulen-linked organizations in Texas.
Turkey says Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, U.S., has been plotting to overthrow the government by infiltrating supporters into state institutions, particularly the judiciary and police. The movement runs a network of schools and businesses that the Turkish government says has allowed his supporters to infiltrate state organs.
“In our upcoming Texas filing that will occur on Monday, we talked about a company called Solidarity Contracts. The individual who worked as a business manager at Harmony [a Gulen-linked charter schools network in Texas] from 2003 to 2009 moved over to Solidarity where he was awarded $22 million in construction contract [by Harmony] in just two years,” Amsterdam said.
He added that the complaint would be the third following complaints in California last month and a lawsuit against Gulen-linked charter schools in Pennsylvania on behalf of a couple of parents.
The Amsterdam & Partners LLP is also representing the Turkish government to investigate and issue legal proceedings against the Gulen movement which is considered as a terrorist organization by Turkey for allegedly constituting a quasi-state in the country.
Noting the similarity between Gulen-linked schools in the U.S. in term of misconduct, Amsterdam described the financial and administrative affairs of those in Texas as a “systemic fraud.”
He said that like many Gulen charter schools in several states, those in Texas are also heavily dependent on “unqualified teachers” brought from Turkey with H1B visa that permits the recipient to work in the U.S.
“We have compared states audits of the Gulen schools which have occurred in a number of states in the United States. And these record loose internal controls, periodic insolvency, funds spent on immigration feeds in the hundreds of thousands of dollars which do not in any way benefit the children, inappropriate use of public funds, inappropriate comingling funds, use of shell entities to funnel public funds from schools to shells,” he said, adding that the group has been just after its interests rather than having concerns for American children.
According to the attorney, the Gulen network is expanding in the U.S. thanks to money laundering from Turkey following government crackdown on several companies linked to the group.
He said that the Gulen organization is trying to get charter schools in military bases across the U.S. in order to “replicate what they have done in Turkey,” implying that the group wants to creep into the American state.
Responding to a question about whether the U.S. administration is supporting Gulen against Turkey, Amsterdam said that it would be naive to think that the American deep state is not tacitly supporting the Gulen network but noted that he did not have substantial evidence of that.