U.S.-based news outlet The Record and its web news outlet NorthJersey.com, part of the USA Today network, revealed that the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) had submitted fraudulent petitions to establish a charter school in New Jersey's Union County. FETÖ operates 140 charter schools in 26 states across the U.S. and has faced criticism from various circles. Charter schools linked to FETÖ in the U.S. are also under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in four states, although the FBI remains quiet about the progress of these ongoing investigations, which reportedly focus on the charter school chain's shady business practices.
According to NorthJersey.com's recent report, officials from the Linden Public School District revealed that "19 of the 24 addresses in the Linden petition were found to be false for a host of reasons." The report further stated that "An overwhelming number of the petitions purportedly signed by city residents in support of the Union Arts and Science Charter School were bogus, 'either forged or were completely fictitious.'"
During the investigation centered around the Gülenist Union Arts and Science Charter School's petition, Linden district officials discovered that one of the signatures belonged to a woman whose "name and address were found in a commercial database which indicated that she died in 2007, despite having been used on forms that were submitted to the state of New Jersey in October 2015 as part of the charter school's initial application." Meanwhile, an investigative report previously published by The Record newspaper and posted to its website, NorthJersey.com, revealed that a group of charter schools in the U.S. state of New Jersey affiliated with FETÖ last year collected tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money. The report found that seven schools in the state collected more than "$60 million in taxpayer dollars last year alone to fund their growth."
FETÖ's schools in the U.S. are usually gathered under umbrella organizations and are managed through foundations. As an example, there are 46 schools, all under the name "Harmony" in Texas, 30 schools under the name "Concept" in and around Ohio, as well as Magnolia. While the judicial processes regarding FETÖ's schools in the U.S. continues, the American public has also started to express more doubts about the schools, according to U.S. media reports.