From the San Francisco Chronicle, with thanks to Green:
Three former leaders of a defunct California charter school network have been arrested for allegedly embezzling public funds, the state Department of Justice said Monday after a three-year investigation.
The Fresno-based GateWay Academy operated 14 public schools, with some as far away as Oakland and Pomona (Los Angeles County). State agents raided GateWay in January 2002 after The Chronicle discovered a GateWay school in Sunnyvale charging tuition and teaching Islam while taking state funding — a violation of church and state separation.
Although state officials said the arrest warrant was sealed and they couldn’t elaborate on the alleged felonies, almost three years ago state agents were looking at documents obtained by The Chronicle showing GateWay inflated enrollment in Sunnyvale and Oakland to recoup more state per-pupil funding, hired convicted felons to work in the classroom, and withdrew large amounts of money from the school bank account….
Last Tuesday, state agents arrested former GateWay Superintendent Khadijah Ghafur, chief administrative officer Naazim Hamed, and board member Kehinde Solwazi, according to Nathan Barankin, spokesman for the state attorney general.
The state charged Ghafur, 54, and Solwazi, 63, with several criminal counts of theft of public funds and grand theft. Hamed, 57, faces one count of grand theft.
Ghafur also is accused of failing to file tax returns, and all three face special allegations of taking funds and property exceeding $150,000, according to court documents.
All three were taken into custody and released shortly after posting bail. They are scheduled to be arraigned in Fresno County Superior Court on Dec. 9….
In December 2001, The Chronicle revealed that GateWay was charging tuition and teaching from the Quran at Silicon Valley Academy in Sunnyvale. The school maintained a Web site with an enrollment form and fee schedule, which parents in the parking lot confirmed they used to pay $400 a month to send their children to the school….
Ghafur sued the school district for $6.5 million, charging that anti- Muslim sentiment after the Sept. 11 attacks led to her school network’s downfall.