Wednesday, January 14, 2009

End Of The Conflict Of Interest Thing 

I guess the Washington Post did get it exactly wrong when it comes to their allegation that Tom Nida had a financial conflict of interest regarding his role as Chairman of the D.C. Public Charter School Board and employment at United Bank.

See this statement from the Board.

Update 1: I learned last night that the "clarification" that the Washington Post issued regarding their charter story was used by the DCPCSB to defend Tom Nida against the conflict of interest charge. I am extremely proud of this fact, especially in light of the two weeks of extremely hard work it took me to get them to issue it.

Update 2: The Washington Post runs a story today about Attorney General Nickles' decision to drop his investigation. You can see how obviously painful is was for David Fallis and James Grimaldi to write it:

To conduct his inquiry, Nickles sent Nida 18 questions about issues documented in The Post's articles. Nida and the board staff, Nickles said, provided detailed written responses, and he found no need to conduct interviews. "The individuals who had either a direct or indirect conflict of interest appeared to have recused themselves" when it was appropriate to do so, Nickles said.

Asked about some specific cases, Nickles characterized them as indirect or beyond the scope of the city's laws. "I don't think the conflict-of-interest rules extend to the situations that you talk about," he said.

He added that he "saw no evidence" that Nida benefited from his actions on the board.

The District's law states, "No public official shall use his or her official position or office to obtain financial gain for himself or herself, any member of his or her household, or any business with which he or she or a member of his or her household is associated."

Nida told The Post in the November interview, which was recorded, that United Bank pays him an annual bonus based partly on any loan business he generates, including from charter school projects. In his written responses to Nickles, Nida said his "bonus determination specifically excludes any business from DC public charter schools."
The findings by the Attorney General is a major victory for D.C.'s charter school movement, for Tom Nida, and for right over wrong.

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