Documents obtained by the Parents' Coalition reveal that MCPS Chief Operating Officer Larry Bowers agreed to lease several school parking lots to the United States Golf Association (USGA) during the recent US Open Golf Tournament in exchange for an $11,000 contribution to a foundation that Bowers oversees.
The documents, obtained through a Maryland Public Information Act request, include a contract giving the USGA exclusive use of parking lots at Carderock Springs Elementary School, Walter Johnson High School, and Walt Whitman High School during much the US Open Golf Tournament. The contract also gives the USGA use of the parking lot at the Carver Educational Service Center while setting aside reserved parking spaces for Board of Education members, former Superintendent Jerry Weast, and other high-ranking MCPS personnel.
No approval of the parking lot contract could be found in Board of Education meeting minutes.
The contract that Bowers signed includes a handwritten note stating "$11,000 will go into MCPS Educational Foundation." Bowers is the Executive Director of the MCPS Educational Foundation, according to the foundation's web site. Maryland law requires that income received by MCPS be forwarded to the County Council for appropriation.
|Section of parking lot rental agreement exposing $11,000 diversion to fund run by Bowers, Weast, and O'Neill|
In January, former Superintendent Weast announced that Carderock Springs Elementary school would be closed two days before the end of the school year, claiming that the early closure was needed because of the number of spectators expected and because of security concerns. The Board of Education was not told that the parking lot would be leased to the USGA.
"As a result of the number of spectators anticipated and potential security concerns created by this event, I have authorized the last day of school for students at Carderock Springs Elementary School to be Tuesday, June 14, 2011. The scheduled last day of school for all other MCPS students will remain Thursday, June 16, 2011," wrote Weast in his January 13, 2011 memo to the Board of Education.
Weast is a member of the MCPS Educational Foundation Board of Directors. Patricia O'Neill is a member of the Board of Education and also serves as a director of the MCPS Educational Foundation.
Parking agreement between MCPS and USGA
Additional documentation from MCPS about parking lot use for golf tournament