A school linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in the state of California, United States, is under investigation, its former principal Hayri Hatipoğlu accused of defrauding the school.
According to the local newspaper East Bay Express, Hatipoğlu, who was principal of the BayTech School in Oakland's Bay Area suddenly resigned from his post along with four senior staff members and two out of the five board members of the school.
Disappearing following his resignation, Hatipoğlu reportedly left for Australia with his family.
The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) launched an investigation, while the school's three remaining board members started their own investigation hiring a third party.
The board members accuse Hatipoğlu of covertly changing his contract so he would receive a severance of $450,000 for three years.
In an interview with the East Bay Express, board member Fatih Dağdelen said, "According to his contract, he'd get paid six-months salary if he resigned, but all of a sudden his contract said he'd get paid two-and-a-half years further."
"We have a lot of evidence and believe there's [been] a fraud," Dağdelen added.
Dağdelen refused to say why Hatipoğlu had resigned but there had been fallout between Hatipoğlu and the Turkish directors of the school after he resigned.
The story said that OUSD received many complaints over the last decades to investigate the school's ties with FETÖ, but were dismissed by the BayTech administration, "calling any attempts to question the school's ties to FETÖ followers a form of discrimination."
Joshua Hendrick, a professor at Loyola University Maryland, said many followers of FETÖ deny links to the organization, namely those who organize charter schools in the U.S.
The district's spokesperson John Sasaki confirmed the investigation launched against the school and said financial mismanagement allegations in their schools are being taken seriously.
"As the charter authorizer, we have been informed of allegations of financial impropriety at BayTech," Sasaki said.
The BayTech charter school was opened in 2003, run by non-profit Willow Education foundation, which was founded by Süleyman Bahçeci, founder of other FETÖ-linked schools in Texas, Utah and southern California.
The East Bay Express said Bahçeci and other staff and board members of BayTech "have obvious ties" to FETÖ.
Anadolu Agency (AA) has attempted to get comments from school officials but has so far failed to make contact.
Residing in Pennsylvania since 1999, FETÖ's ringleader, Fetullah Gülen, is known as the man who controls around 140 charter schools and $500 million annually from the U.S. government, according to some U.S. media reports.
While the administrators of FETÖ schools denounce they are connected to FETÖ's leader Gülen, the financial relationships between the schools and other FETÖ institutions raise questions about the relationship.
FETÖ's schools nationwide are part of the largest charter schools network in the U.S. Some of the schools are currently under FBI investigation for irregularities, unlawful profits, corruption, fraud and forgery.
FETÖ's infiltrators in the military, from generals to low-ranking officers, were behind the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 250 people, and Turkey has already sent a large cache of evidence to U.S. officials implicating FETÖ in the attempt.
The United States' apparent reluctance to extradite Gülen, one of the most wanted people in Turkey, remains a deep rift in relations between the two countries. Ankara had formally requested Gülen be extradited on July 19, 2016. Since then however, Turkish officials believe there was insufficient progress on the matter. They are also accused of infiltrating educational and other institutions in Turkey and worldwide for nefarious purposes, including subverting the state.
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