It was a similar request from Stitt in the summer of 2019 that inserted Byrd into the finances of Epic, which was founded by two Oklahoma City men, Ben Harris and David Chaney.
With two Epic charter schools in Oklahoma, Harris and Chaney created a for-profit school management company called Epic Youth Services, which the school reversed and paid for a 10% cut in all state and federal funding.
The first legal problem with this arrangement, Byrd said, is that Epic was limited by state law to spending only 5% of its taxpayer’s money on administrative fees.
To make matters worse, according to Byrd, the duo hired an entire administrative staff at Epic charter schools at state expense to do the job their for-profit management company was also being paid for.
“Epic School employees who are paid with state taxes, work on state computers, work in state-funded buildings, use state email addresses do the private business work, ”Byrd said. “Now, if a for-profit company uses publicly paid employees and resources to manage and benefit its private business, that is considered embezzlement. “
She said the inaction of lawmakers, law enforcement or prosecutors in the past 13 months since her report revealed the scheme left the door open for Harris and Chaney to “pocket” $ 80 million. additional dollars for fiscal year 2021.