Amsterdam & Partners LLP today released Empire of Deceit: An Investigation of the Gülen Charter School Network, a new book that, for the first time, details how the nationwide charter school network controlled by the Gülen Organization enriches itself at the expense of American school children, teachers and taxpayers. According to the book, Fethullah Gülen discovered a financing mechanism to support his organization – the American charter school system. 199 Gülen-affiliated schools across the U.S. generate more than $750 million in revenue, primarily through government funds on the backs of taxpayers, using a scheme of suspect real estate practices, insider deals and kickbacks with Turkish vendors, and rampant overuse of the H-1B visa program.
“The Gülen charter school network abuses the H-1B visa program and the American educational system to sustain and perpetuate the Gülen Organization,” stated Robert R. Amsterdam, Founding Partner at Amsterdam & Partners LLP and lead author of Empire of Deceit. “It is time for federal, state and local authorities to join with American parents and teachers to thoroughly investigate this network and protect American children and taxpayers.”
Fethullah Gülen is a Turkish imam living in a guarded compound in Pennsylvania with a network of schools around the globe. The authors’ investigations allege that through inflated pricing, vendor kickbacks, tithing by Turkish teachers, opaque accounting and other highly suspect arrangements and transactions, the Gülen Organization is able to siphon off millions of dollars from American taxpayers.
Among the book’s key findings:
- Misuse of taxpayer funds totaling at least $243 million.
- More than 6,504 H-1B visas to import unqualified Turkish teachers at a public cost of as much as $26 million and lost jobs for American teachers.
- Nearly 81,000 students enrolled at Gülen schools across 27 states and District of Columbia.
- Per se human trafficking, as forced tithing threatens Turkish teachers with deportation.
- Widespread manipulation of state mandated testing, grades and attendance figures.
- Lobbying and publicly funded trips to Turkey to influence politicians and local officials.
Empire of Deceit describes the process by which Gülen charter schools create a self-sustaining “closed loop” of operations. The Gülen Organization: 1. builds relationships and lays the groundwork for charter school approvals; 2. creates customers by opening charter schools; 3. establishes Charter Management Organizations and vendors that each individual Gülen school hires for services; 4. opens multiple Gülen charter schools in a single region, to make the network “too big to fail.”
Among dozens of whistleblower testimonials in the book detailing the Gülen network, an American teacher from New York said, “When I was hired I had to go through this whole formal interview process. Turkish teachers would just show up at the school out of nowhere and start right away with no formal interview process. Most of the teachers weren’t even certified to teach in New York State. Turkish teachers always got paid more than the American teachers…” (Empire of Deceit, page 633).
Amsterdam & Partners LLP asks federal, state and local authorities to critically analyze the findings of Empire of Deceit and to use the information to investigate the Gülen charter school network in order to protect the interests of American schoolchildren, parents, teachers and taxpayers.
Learn more at www.empireofdeceit.com.
This material is distributed by Amsterdam & Partners LLP / the Republic of Turkey. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice, Washington, DC.