ANN ARBOR, MI – A stunning new development has come to light surrounding allegations of public corruption over the sale of Farmington Public Schools (FPS) property to the Islamic Cultural Association (ICA). On Wednesday, August 8th, Reverend Bruce D. Burwell, Senior Pastor of Light of the World Christian Center in West Bloomfield, read aloud a prepared statement on how the person in charge of FPS properties told him the property was not for sale when he expressed an interest in purchasing it for his church. FPS subsequently sold the vacant Eagle Elementary school property to the Islamic Cultural Association.
Pastor Burwell’s prepared statement has been forwarded to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to consider as part of the request by the Thomas More Law Center that he empanel a citizens grand jury to investigate the allegations of corruption.
Pastor Burwell’s revelations are the latest in a series of allegations that FPS engaged in a NO-BID, secret backroom transaction with the Islamic Cultural Association while at the same time it was telling interested buyers that the vacant property was not for sale. Pastor Burwell’s statement was delivered to a packed community briefing last night to discuss the basis for the allegations of corruption and the legal issues surrounding a civil lawsuit already filed against the school district.
In June 2012, the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), an Ann-Arbor based national public interest law firm, submitted a 22-page Statement of Allegations against the suburban school district to the Attorney General requesting that a citizens grand jury be convened to pierce “the fog of corruption”’ that has descended upon FPS surrounding this highly irregular and controversial sale.
Records submitted to the Attorney General’s office included more than 400 pages of documentation supporting the TMLC allegations that FPS disregarded the recommendations of its own legal council, a specially convened internal committee and district residents in steamrolling through the secretly negotiated no-bid, below-market sale of valuable public property.
TMLC became involved in the case when it learned that according to the real estate broker who represented ICA in the purchase of Eagle Elementary, ICA owns and operates the HUDA, an Islamic school in the Village of Franklin, Michigan. The Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, reports that ICA shares direct ties to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the North American Islamic Trust, Inc. (NAIT), both of which were named as unindicted co-conspirators/joint venturers in U.S. v. Holy Land Found. For Relief & Dev. (HLF), the largest terrorism funding trial in U.S. history. Federal prosecutors proved that HLF worked closely with the U.S. designated terrorist organization Hamas to fund terrorist activities.
Among allegations of corruption, the TMLC filing details the district’s representations to several parties that Eagle Elementary School was not for sale and was slated for demolition. All the while, records show, the district had discriminatorily granted exclusive consideration to and protected the bid of the ICA, with whom it was negotiating for months behind closed doors.
All citizens who value public transparency and accountability should welcome an independent grand jury investigation into this public school system scandal that has cost the students and taxpayers so dearly. At a press conference yesterday, Attorney General Schuette reminded all: “Public service is not a game.” We couldn’t agree more. And nowhere is it more important to assure integrity than in our public school systems.
Corruption and CAIR. Coincidence? This image tipped us off although it and the article are now wiped from from the web, captured in our initial post on this school story.