The Political Reform Act of 1974 requires various public officials in California to file financial disclosure forms, known to the locals1 as Form 700s. In many cases it’s very clear who has to file. Elected officials, high-powered appointed decisionmakers, like e.g. the City Clerk of Los Angeles. But when one descends into the peculiar brushy backwater thickets of privatization where are found the local agencies whose publicness is merely quasi, e.g. business improvements and charter schools, things become murkier indeed.
I don’t (yet) understand the details, but BID staff and directors are required to disclose in some jurisdictions, e.g. the City of Fortuna, California, and not in others, e.g. the City of Los Angeles. And I really don’t know what’s up with California charter schools in general, but I do know that LAUSD charter boards and executive staff are required to file disclosures. And these forms are very likely to make interesting reading, so they’re a must-request item for CPRA sleuths!2
And just recently a stack of Form 700s came in from our old friends at New Los Angeles Charter Schools came in! You can read the whole spool here in a single PDF and there are links to some individual files below. And they’re pretty various. Some have nothing to declare and it seems legit. Others have nothing to declare and appear to be lying about it. There’s one guy with a zillion small positions in various individual stocks, not that creatively chosen. See that an apparently inordinate number of these folks are associated with The Wildwood School. But one of these forms really stands out to me,3 and that’s the one belonging to board member Bari Cooper Sherman.
It seems that Sherman is general counsel as well as being a principal of some shady-looking financial services conspiracy called Turner Impact Capital. I don’t know about you, by the way, but reading those three words, for whatever reason, almost magically shuts down my mental facilities. It’s like a spell. But the words do mean something, it turns out. These people don’t just sit around turning vast quantities of money into even vaster quantities, which is typically what people are up to when they call their money “capital”.
They do that, yes, but they do it through social engineering, which they call “impact” undoubtedly because it sounds a lot less creepy. And one aspect of society they’re all hot to
engineer impact, as is so common with these zillionaire putative do-gooders, is education.4 And the means by which they’ve weaponized their megabucks in the service of the social engineering of education is something called the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund.
According to Sherman’s Form 700, this fund contains all of her investments, in an amount between $100,001 and $1,000,000.5 It’s already a highly dubious proposition that someone like Sherman, who’s had a multi-decade career as general counsel to zillionaires, doesn’t have money invested anywhere outside of this one single fund, or that she doesn’t have more than a million dollars invested, so it appears that she’s not only dedicated to destroying public education but she’s also a liar.
But setting that aside, it’s been clear to me for a while that zillionaires must be making money from charter schools. The theoretical long-term benefits they can expect from the destruction of public education and their subsequent increased control over the brainwashing of their potential workforce, or whatever they’re thinking about in the long run, is all fine and good and, I’m sure, exactly right. But they didn’t get to be zillionaires by pure pie-in-the-skyism.6
They also need a good solid ROI right now. And this information, this fund, is the first concrete evidence I personally have seen that they do indeed have ways of doing that. As always, the linguistic gobbledegookery in which the fund is described is essentially impenetrable. The point, as some famous Nazi whose name escapes me once said, is not to communicate facts but to create a certain impression.7
And the impression created by their description is essentially that they’re all going to make a ton of money from charter school real estate at the same time that they’re using the schools themselves to undermine public education:
The Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund meets the facilities challenge by acting as a “bridge developer” for best-in-class charter schools. A joint venture between Turner Impact Capital and tennis legend Andre Agassi, Turner-Agassi serves school operators by taking the lead on site selection, acquisition, design and construction and providing 100 percent of development costs.
School facilities developed by Turner-Agassi are then leased to school operators, who can then purchase the sites once they reach full occupancy. The fund even helps schools take advantage of tax-advantaged funding options, such as New Market Tax Credits or tax-exempt bond offerings.
And, at least according to their propaganda, they’re not only doing what passes for good among Satan-worshipping zillionaires, but, as we know must be the case, they’re making big money doing it:
Relative to traditional investment options, social impact investing is characterized by:
Superior Risk-Adjusted Returns
Social impact investing can yield superior risk-adjusted returns as there is no need to speculate on market demand. The demand is large, growing and unmet.
Investment Diversification and Downside Protection
Social impact can generate investment returns that are typically uncorrelated to broader economic conditions, markets indices, interest rates, or other economic factors.
Lasting Solutions With No Sacrifice in Yield
By creating market-driven solutions, social impact investing can make meaningful and measurable difference in the lives of individuals, families and communities.
And this, making this money in this way, this is why New Los Angeles is destroying Baldwin Hills Elementary School through co-location. That beloved school is nothing more than raw material for this fund’s capital enhancement methodology,8 which is despicable, of course.
So what’s the conclusion? I don’t know yet. I don’t have the first idea how these people are using this fund and other funds like it for immediate monetization of their long-term public education destruction project. But before I got these Form 700s from Brooke Rios, increasingly-frustrated-with-my-antics Executive Director of the New Los Angeles Charter Schools, I didn’t even know this fund, this company, existed. That seems like progress.
Image of New Los Angeles Charter School Board member Bari Cooper Sherman is ©2019 MichaelKohlhaas.Org and it has an origin story.
- Metaphorical locals.
- Occasionally I’m reminded that not everyone pronounces “CPRA” like I do — it’s SIP-rah. Which makes the phrase “CPRA sleuths” slighly more euphonious, yeah? Of course yeah!
- It’s possible, even likely, that if I knew more about these people then more of the forms would stand out. Like some of them own rental property, and they list the names of the tenants, and the last names are familiar, and something might be happening there, but I don’t know what it is, do I, Mr. Jones?
- I don’t know if you’re into URLmancy, but if so, take a look at that one there. It’s turnerimpact.com/investment-models/education. That is, according to their directory structure, education is a subset of their investment models. It’s just interesting is all I’m saying.
- Form 700s require disclosure of ranges of money, not precise amounts.
- Undoubtedly a lot of them got to be zillionaires because their daddies were also zillionaires, but that’s a different story. Expect me to bring it up later when it’s rhetorically convenient, which it is not right at this moment.
- I legitimately cannot remember who’s responsible for this most cynical bon mot ever about propaganda, if the word bon can be applied to any Nazi mot. My common sense, which is often completely wrong, says it must have been Goebbels, because it’s so like him, but I can’t find it anywhere in his writings, which I read a long time ago and in no way have the heart to read again. I can’t find any attributions, or even a mention of it anywhere. If you know, please please please tell me! Email is good: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Trying here to parody zillionairese.