Yesterday I wrote about the for-profit Benjamin Franklin Charter Chain in Arizona, which is owned by a member of the legislature, Rep. Eddie Farnsworth. He is paid $18 million by the state for his four schools. Although Arizona law says that charter boards must have open public meetings, he has won an exemption from the law because he is the only member of the board. As a one-person Board, he holds no public meetings.

It turns out there is more to the story. Jim Hall of Arozonans for Charter Accountability documents that the Benjamin Franklin charters are the only ones in the state that spend more on administration and buildings than on instruction.

“Representative Farnsworth profits from charter ownership

“It is unclear how much Representative Farnsworth profits from his sole ownership of BFCS because for-profit corporations do not have to reveal salary information. We do know that Representative Farnsworth is a multi-millionaire – BFCS has over $3 million in stockholder equity and Farnsworth is the only stockholder. BFCD also has assets of $6.7 million in cash and another $35 million in real estate holdings.

“Farnsworth profits from the ownership of his real estate firm LBE Investments LTD (LBE) as well. LBE actually owns each of the BFCS campuses and leases the schools back to BFCS at substantially more than the mortgage payments and property taxes due.”

Why do taxpayers in Arizona put up with this misdirection of public funds?