Monday, June 16, 2014

Weast No Bid $545,693 Annual Deal Lives on with Joshua Starr

On Tuesday, June 17, 2014, the Montgomery County Board of Education will make their annual half-a-million dollar payment to Wireless Generation, now called Amplify Education, Inc.

Superintendent Jerry Weast set up this backroom deal back in 2004 and Superintendent Joshua Starr is keeping it going.  Starr has even met with Wireless Generation in New York City!

Did the Board of Education ever vote to purchase this product? No.

Did the Board of Education ever vote to invest $500,000 in this company? No.

Did taxpayers ever see the "seven figure return on sales of the product over 3 years?" No!

But, no worries for Amplify, Inc.  The deal will be "extended" tomorrow and they will get a check for $545,693.

Here's some more background on Wireless Generation/Amplify from 2010: 

Taxpayers have already seen the results of Superintendent Weast's "certain investment in a certain company".  As best as the public can ascertain, Superintendent Weast made a $500,000 to $1,000,000 investment [on behalf of MCPS] in a company called Wireless Generation around 2004. How does the public know that? The investment wasn't brought before the Board of Education for discussion or a vote. The investment was revealed in an article [they don't want you to read it anymore - the document is now behind a pay wall] put out by the Harvard Business School.

Did the investment yield a profit for taxpayers? Apparently, not. While no accounting was made for this investment in Board of Education meetings, Maryland Public Information Act requests by members of the Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County yielded some information in 2009. The results of our MPIA requests can be read here and here.

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