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San Ysidro School District Spent $276,000 On After-School Program That Never Happened

A playground at Ocean View Hills Elementary
Share This Article:An empty playground is proven by way of a fence at Ocean View Hills Elementary in San Ysidro on Sept. 24, 2018. (Megan Wooden/inewsource)
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A San Diego lady who touts her connections to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and billionaire philanthropist T. Denny Sanford to advertise her after-school packages bought the San Ysidro School District a sports activities and cheer package deal that by no means occurred.

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And two years later, the district continues to be making an attempt to recoup the $276,000 it paid upfront.

Tyree Dillingham promised that her Higher San Diego After-School All-Stars would offer a yearlong sports activities and cheer program for greater than 1,600 of San Ysidro’s college students. This system was essential for a district that serves a number of the poorest college students within the county.

“I feel that we were taken advantage of,” San Ysidro faculty board member Marcos Diaz stated. “That would be me personally. But even a little bit farther, our children were the ones that were stolen from, if that is the case and if that is what is proven”

Whereas investigating questions concerning the after-school contract, inewsource found questionable claims Dillingham utilized in selling her enterprise on-line and in Arizona. A few of these claims have since been erased from her web site.

In a single occasion, Dillingham appeared in a photograph with Sanford, who lives in La Jolla and made his fortune in credit score and banking. He’s holding a $28 million examine that seemed to be made out to her firm.

A spokeswoman for Sanford advised inewsource the philanthropist gave $500,000 to Dillingham’s firm — not $28 million. The verify within the photograph with Dillingham and Sanford is dated April 18, 2017, the identical day he was photographed giving a $28 million verify to the Nationwide College System.

Images of the checksA screenshot is proven (left) of T. Denny Sanford giving a $28 million verify to the Nationwide College System on April 18, 2017, the identical day he’s proven holding a $28 million examine with Tyree Dillingham, CEO of Inspirement Tribe (proper).

Dillingham’s Fb web page for her enterprise has been taken down since inewsource started asking concerning the San Ysidro contract. The photograph of the $28 million examine additionally has been faraway from her firm’s web site.

Repeated makes an attempt by inewsource to talk to Dillingham, together with telephone calls, emails and visits to her residence, failed, though a pal who stated he was representing her stated Dillingham tried twice to refund cash to the San Ysidro School District.

The district couldn’t instantly affirm these makes an attempt, and Superintendent Gina Potter, who was employed in April, informed inewsource in an Oct. 5 e mail that the district’s lawyer has now reached out to Dillingham’s firm for reimbursement.

All-Stars loses nonprofit standing

In January 2010, Dillingham turned government director of the Larger San Diego After-School All-Stars nonprofit. The corporate started in 1995 as a chapter of a nationwide after-school sports activities program based by Schwarzenegger.

Dillingham, who final yr modified the native All-Stars’ identify to Inspirement Tribe, boasted on this system’s web site that she was Schwarzenegger’s “right-hand woman for 14 years.” She labored in Schwarzenegger’s San Diego workplace from January 2004 to December 2009, when he was governor, in accordance with her LinkedIn.

A director with the nationwide After-School All-Stars informed inewsource that Dillingham ran an unbiased nonprofit and paid for a licensing settlement to make use of the All-Stars identify. That settlement has since ended, the director stated.

Dillingham stated in a web-based video she rebranded the group as Inspirement Tribe as a result of she noticed a necessity for social and emotional studying. 5 months after she made that change, the Inner Income Service revoked the group’s nonprofit standing for failing to file tax paperwork for 3 consecutive years.

Nonprofits are required by regulation to make their tax returns public so donors and others can evaluate their funds. As of Oct. eight, probably the most lately obtainable knowledge, Inspirement Tribe was nonetheless not working as a nonprofit, which means it’s now required to pay revenue taxes on income, together with donations. Donors can also’t deduct contributions made to the group.

Over the previous 9 months, Dillingham has posted weekly “Lunch and Learn” reside movies on her Fb web page giving motivational talks. She additionally has appeared in movies on different individuals’s Fb pages describing her after-school program.

“We provide inner-city and homeless youth with free after-school and out-of-school-time programming that’s based in social and emotional learning,” Dillingham stated in a video this previous April.

In a video posted final yr, she promoted her fundraising expertise.

“I’m good at it, by the way,” Dillingham stated. “I’ve made millions of dollars — literally millions of dollars in donations over the years.”

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Dillingham additionally was featured final yr in an Arizona philanthropy journal to advertise bringing her after-school program to the state with Sanford’s assist. The article stated Dillingham used her connection to Schwarzenegger to strategy philanthropist Sanford about this system, which he then “adopted as his own.”

Within the journal article, Sanford stated, “It is my privilege to support the students of Arizona through Inspirement Tribe. Their programs empower the youth of today to be the trailblazers of tomorrow.”

A webinar promoted on-line by the nonprofit Arizona Middle for Afterschool Excellence exhibits Dillingham solicited center faculties in Maricopa County to take part in her program. inewsource was unable to confirm if any packages started within the state. Courtney Sullivan, the middle’s government director, stated she helped Inspirement Tribe join with faculty districts till she discovered this system that Dillingham was advertising had not but been developed.

Dillingham’s contract referred to as ‘egregious’

Earlier than Dillingham acquired her contract with the San Ysidro School District, she had made almost $1.7 million offering packages at two different San Diego County faculty districts.

The Sweetwater Union School District paid her All-Stars nonprofit about $1.1 million for after-school and bullying prevention packages from 2010 to 2012. The San Diego Unified School District paid the nonprofit about $590,000 for after-school packages from 2011 to 2015.

Officers for each districts stated they not contract with Dillingham’s All-Stars however couldn’t say why.

Dillingham was launched to the San Ysidro faculty board in 2015 when her All-Stars group competed with 4 different nonprofits for the district’s $950,600 after-school program. The Boys and Women Membership of South County gained the contract.

The subsequent yr, the varsity board gave Dillingham’s firm a $425,000 contract for the after-school sports activities program. For the 2016-17 faculty yr, Dillingham was to offer teaching, uniforms and oversight for 3 sports activities leagues, a cheer program, a soccer camp named after former NFL participant Reggie Bush and a baseball clinic named after former main leaguer Tony Clark. Bush and Clark grew up in San Diego County.

The “professional services agreement” with Dillingham didn’t have be put out to bid, district officers stated. County schooling officers confirmed that is allowed.

Julio Fonseca is proven at a July 9, 2015, faculty board assembly on the San Ysidro School District workplace. (Megan Wooden/inewsource)

Then-Superintendent Julio Fonseca beneficial the varsity board approve the contract, which the members did unanimously as a part of a consent calendar. The settlement required the district pay Dillingham’s nonprofit $276,000 inside 30 days of the approval — or 65 % of the contract’s complete quantity.

The district’s verify was issued on Aug. 15, greater than three weeks earlier than any after-school actions have been to start.

In an e-mail obtained by inewsource, Dillingham informed Alexis Rodriguez, the after-school program coordinator on the time, that the district can be despatched a schedule of video games on Sept. 9. The nonprofit first needed to rent and practice coaches, enroll college students, and talk with faculty employees, Dillingham stated.

On Oct. four, Rodriguez emailed Jose Arturo Sanchez-Macias, the district’s deputy superintendent in 2016, a draft e mail she stated she needed to ship Dillingham however by no means did, in accordance with a public data request.

“It is now 10.4.16 and your company is still reviewing our student applications,” Rodriguez stated within the draft e mail. “A principal informed me that due to incomplete applications it would take another week or two before the students can (begin) to participate in soccer, I am not okay with that.”

The district has “had zero success” with getting the All-Stars program began, she stated.

Sanchez-Macias lately advised inewsource he discovered features of the “contract were rather strange,” together with the massive upfront cost, however he agreed to pay it.

“All contracts went through my desk,” Sanchez-Macias stated. “But obviously that does not mean I know every contractor that goes through my desk. It was egregious for them to ask for 50 or 60 percent in advance.”

Sanchez-Macias stated when he realized this system was not going to occur, he took steps to attempt to get Dillingham and her nonprofit to refund the $276,000, together with threatening litigation. These efforts failed, he stated.

inewsource confirmed Sanchez-Macias the letter Dillingham stated she despatched the varsity district in 2016 making an attempt to return the cash. He stated he had by no means seen it.

“To address that,” Sanchez-Macias stated, “if you really have the intention to give the money back, you would walk to the district office and say, ‘Hey, here is a letter I sent. Here is the check for whatever amount is left. Would you agree to it?’”

Fonseca and Sanchez-Macias resigned final yr amid questions on their compensation packages and different attainable monetary misdeeds. These points led to an “extraordinary audit” by the state that concluded the 2 directors engaged in attainable monetary fraud and misuse of district funds.

Sanchez-Macias and Fonseca’s lawyer have disputed the audit’s findings. Fonseca’s lawyer didn’t reply to requests for touch upon this story.

State authorities are also conducting a second audit into the district’s contract agreements. A state official stated the auditors have been conscious of Dillingham’s contract with the district, however it isn’t presently a part of the state investigation.

District nonetheless pursuing reimbursement

District officers declined interview requests from inewsource about Dillingham’s after-school program and stated they might not confirm her claims that she tried to refund cash to the district in 2016 or extra just lately.

“The District is currently in the process of examining all past and current contracts,” spokesman Francisco Mata stated in an e mail. “Additionally, the District is reviewing all business internal controls in order to tighten fiscal oversight and provisions with all business functions, including public contracts.”

Underneath the phrases of Dillingham’s contract, she was to be reimbursed just for providers she had offered, although the settlement didn’t point out refunding any a part of the upfront cost to the All-Stars.

Board member Diaz informed inewsource Oct. 11 that previously two weeks, the district has “finally gotten some response” from Dillingham’s firm.

Marcos Diaz at a meetingSan Ysidro faculty trustee Marcos Diaz is proven on the faculty board’s June 14, 2018, assembly. (Megan Wooden/inewsource)

He stated the district was promised a service that was not delivered, however stated the administration and board members are partly accountable. If the administration had educated and educated the board higher about this contract, these issues would have been prevented, he stated.

“You have well-meaning, well-intentioned individuals that really want to take care of their community. They really want to take care of their schools and the education for our kids. … And we’re at the mercy of the information being provided to us,” Diaz stated. “So I stand by all of my votes, but all of my votes are only as good as the information that I receive.”

Because the district employed Superintendent Potter in April, Diaz stated the varsity board now receives extra detailed details about board gadgets, calling the method like “night and day” in comparison with what trustees acquired prior to now.

Diaz stated he additionally would by no means once more approve a contract requiring 65 % cost upfront.

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San Ysidro School District Spent $276,000 On After-School Program That Never Happened was final modified: October 18th, 2018 by inewsource

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