Back in 2014, a prominent charter school leader in Connecticut resigned after it was revealed that he had been convicted of felonies many years earlier, and that he did not have a doctorate, although he claimed he did. Michael Sharpe resigned as CEO of Jumoke Academy, which ran charter schools in Connecticut and planned to expand to Louisiana.

Sharpe was part of a management organization called Family Urban Schools of Excellence or FUSE, created in 2012. The state had given millions of dollars to Jumoke to take over low-performing schools and turn them around.

The controversy over Sharpe was embarrassing to Democratic Governor Dannell Malloy, who was a cheerleader for charter schools. Malloy chose Stefan Pryor to be the State Commissioner of Education. Pryor had no experience in the classroom but was a co-founder of the no-excuses charter chain Achievement First. Charter schools in the state were allowed to have only 30% of their staff with state certification. The charter industry was strong in Connecticut due to the financial power of hedge funders and the Sackler Family (of opioid fame), which launched Conn-CAN, a charter advocacy group, which became the national 50CAN.

But the biggest scandal of all came to light in the past week, when the same Michael Sharpe was convicted of breaking into the homes of four women in 1984, kidnapping them, threatening the women with a firearm, sexually assaulting them, then stealing money and valuables.

Sharpe was convicted of kidnapping and faces a sentence of 25-100 years in prison. The statute of limitations had expired on the sexual assault charges. Sharpe’s DNA was found at the four scenes. The case was solved by the state’s cold case unit.

Back in the days of his charter fame, the Center for Education Reform identified him as a national leader.

Dr. Sharpe is president of the Connecticut Charter School Association and founding member of the Legacy Project and Family Urban Schools of Excellence (FUSE). He also sits on the boards of the National Charter School Leadership Council, St. Agnes Home, Inc., the CT Chapter of Lupus Foundation of America and Connecticut Landmarks.

Dr. Sharpe began work at Jumoke Academy in 1998 and was appointed its CEO in 2003. Under his leadership, Jumoke Academy’s middle and elementary schools were cited for three consecutive years as one of the top ten performing urban schools in the State of Connecticut.

Jumoke Academy is committed to developing the whole child, and as such, offers programs that ensure our children become competent in the arts, humanities, civic and social responsibilities, and that they understand the value and importance of good character.

In 2015, after Sharpe had resigned, civil rights attorney Wendy Lecker wrote about the strange trajectory of Jumoke Academy, FUSE, and Michael Sharpe.

Earlier this month, the Connecticut Department of Education quietly distributed a scathing investigative report on the Jumoke/FUSE charter chain, conducted by a law firm the department retained. The report reads like a manual on how to break every rule of running a non-profit organization.

The investigators found that although FUSE and Jumoke were supposed to be two separate, tax-exempt organizations, both were run by Michael Sharpe alone. FUSE, formed in 2012, never held board of directors’ meetings until after the public revelations in the spring of 2014 of Michael Sharpe’s felony record for embezzlement and falsification of his academic credentials. FUSE entered into contracts with the state to run two public schools without approval by its board. In fact, it is unclear that FUSE even had a board of directors then. Jumoke, too, played fast and loose with board meetings. Jumoke’s board gave Sharpe “unfettered control” over every aspect of the organization. Even after he left Jumoke for FUSE, Sharpe still ran Jumoke, leaving day-to-day operations to his nephew, an intern there.

Hiring and background checks were in Sharpe’s sole discretion. He placed ex-convicts in the two public schools run by Jumoke, Hartford’s Milner and Bridgeport’s Dunbar. Dunbar’s principal, brought in by Sharpe, was recently arraigned on charges of stealing more than $10,000 from the school.

Nepotism was “rampant.” Sharpe’s mother founded Jumoke. Sharpe moved from paraprofessional to CEO in 2003, with no additional training. His unqualified daughter and nephew were hired, as well as his sister.

The investigation found extreme comingling of funds and of financial and accounting activities, noting that it “would be difficult to construct a less appropriate financial arrangement between two supposedly separate organizations.”

Jumoke/FUSE used state money to engage in aggressive real estate acquisition, some not even for educational purposes, and some inexplicably purchased above its appraised value. Properties were collateral and/or were mortgaged for one another. Loan rates were excessive. To date, loans are guaranteed by FUSE, which is not operational.

Jumoke leased Sharpe part of a building who, violating the lease, sublet it and collected rent. Sharpe hired Jumoke’s facilities director’s husband to perform costly renovations on the parts of the building, his bedroom and bathroom, paid by Jumoke.

These are just some of the misdeeds that occurred without oversight by the State Board of Education or the State Department of Education. The board approved contracts to run two public schools without verifying that FUSE had no board of directors. It approved millions to be paid to FUSE/Jumoke to buy non-educational buildings, charge excessive consulting fees to public schools and engage in possibly fraudulent activities. Worse still, the board allowed Jumoke/FUSE to run Milner schoolinto the ground, jeopardizing the education of Milner’s vulnerable students.

“Dr. Sharpe’s” Linked-In profile has not been updated. It’s very impressive.