Northwood Academy Charter School


Northwood Academy Charter School is Brien N. Gardiner's other charter school.
Since the scandal erupted at Philadelphia Academy Charter School in April, Northwood has been trying to extricate itself from Gardiner, his associates, and the business entities he created.
Nonetheless, Northwood, an elementary school with 775 students at two sites, has been drawn into the widening federal criminal investigation of Gardiner and other former top administrators at Philadelphia Academy.
Northwood received a federal subpoena for school records in May. Additional subpoenas sought documents related to its buildings.
Gardiner, who founded Philadelphia Academy in 1999, opened Northwood in 2005 to relieve overcrowding at Carnell Elementary School.
For a time, Gardiner, a former district principal, was chief executive officer at both schools. But he exercised unusual control over Northwood.

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OFF THE CHARTS: CHARTER-SCHOOL PROBES EXPAND, August 16, 2009, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Aug. 16--What began as a complaint from a couple of moms more than 18 months ago has mushroomed into a widening federal investigation of at least five Philadelphia-area charter schools, calling into question spending controls and management oversight in this burgeoning alternative to traditional public schools.
Federal authorities are adding resources to the probe, and people familiar with the matter say New Media Technology Charter School, which has campuses in the city's Stenton and Germantown neighborhoods, is the latest charter targeted for spending irregularities and conflicts of interest.
The probe began last year at the Philadelphia Academy Charter School in the Northeast and has led investigators to Germantown Settlement Charter School in Germantown, Northwood Academy in the Northeast, and the Agora Cyber Charter School in Devon, which provides online instruction to the homes of 4,400 students statewide.
A supervisory prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office confirmed that federal authorities had taken a broad interest in charter-school operations…
The federal probe was launched at Philadelphia Academy after The Inquirer reported in April 2008 that the district's inspector general was investigating allegations of financial mismanagement, nepotism, and conflicts of interest at the school.
Since then, Kevin M. O'Shea, the school's former CEO, and Rosemary DiLacqua, the former board president, have pleaded guilty to fraud charges and are set to be sentenced in October.
O'Shea admitted taking more than $500,000, including kickbacks from contractors, using school money to make home improvements, and pocketing money from school vending machines. He also admitted to participating in a scheme to make money in a land deal involving Northwood.
As part of his plea, O'Shea has promised to cooperate.
DiLacqua admitted taking $34,000 in secret payments and loans from O'Shea and Brien Gardiner, the school's founder, and giving them raises and lucrative contracts.
Gardiner, 64, committed suicide in May amid reports that indictments were imminent.
Derek A. Cohen, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case, said Friday the investigation into Philadelphia Academy and its finances continues.
That probe led federal investigators to look into two other charter schools with close ties to Gardiner: Northwood Academy and Agora Cyber Charter School in Devon. Gardiner founded Northwood and helped found Agora with Dorothy June Brown. He also was her business partner in the Cynwyd Group L.L.C., an education-management firm that has a contract with Agora and that is the school's landlord…

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