Pelto Pelts Moales Over Charter School ‘Fraud’

Petitioning candidate for governor Jonathan Pelto shares the latest on the flap involving charter school executive Michael Sharpe.

As more and more facts come out about Michael Sharpe, the CEO of the Jumoke/FUSE Charter School Management, parents, public school advocates and the taxpayers of Bridgeport and Connecticut are turning their attention to the decision by Paul Vallas and former Bridgeport Board of Education, Chairman Kenneth Moales, Jr. to hand over Bridgeport’s Dunbar School, its students, staff, parents and millions of dollars in public funds to the disgraced charter school fraud.

In the fall of 2012, thanks to the intervention of the Malloy administration, Michael Sharpe and the Jumoke/FUSE company won a no-bid contract to run the Milner School in Hartford. The following year, Jumoke/FUSE won a no-bid contract to run the Dunbar School in Bridgeport and this year, Sharpe and his company received permission to open a new charter school in New Haven.

Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy, his Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor and the State Board of Education are all claiming that they didn’t know the Dr. Michael Sharpe wasn’t a “Dr.” or that he has served approximately five years in prison for embezzlement and tax fraud when he lived in California.

In Bridgeport, the Dunbar School was handed over to Sharpe through a back-room deal that included education reformer extraordinaire Paul Vallas and Reverend Kenneth Moales, Jr., the Malloy and Finch ally who was then serving as the Chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education when the lucrative contract was given to Sharpe.

Just last week the Hartford Board of Education announced they were severing their relationship with Sharpe and Jumoke/Fuse due to fact that Jumoke/FUSE was failing to properly educate the children of the Milner School as required under their Memorandum of Understanding.

Then, thanks to the outstanding investigative reporting of the Hartford Courant, we’ve learned that Sharpe is a fraud having faked his resume and served a lengthy prison sentence for embezzlement and tax evasion.

With the Bridgeport Board of Education meeting tonight, the eyes of the state are turning to Bridgeport to see whether they will stick with the backroom political deal or do what is right for the students, parents, teachers and taxpayers of Bridgeport and Connecticut.

Although the details remain murky, one thing is clear–the Dunbar School Deal would not have taken place without the assistance of Paul Vallas and Kenneth Moales, Jr.

As readers know, Kenneth Moales is already an extremely controversial figure. The man who served as Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch’s campaign treasurer has also been one of the most pivotal supporters of Governor Malloy in Bridgeport, the city that “gave” Malloy the margin he needed to beat Tom Foley by 6,200 votes in the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

Unable or unwilling to follow the law, Moales and his family have been running three daycare centers that illegally overcharged taxpayers and continue to put children in classrooms that do not meet the most basic requirements when it comes to having a permanent certificate of occupancy.

Wait, What? readers will recall that Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr. received a temporary certificate of occupancy on July 23, 2013, shortly after the CT Post reported his church, the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, had been operating illegally as early as 2011.

On July 23, 2013, the Chief Building Official emailed Andrew Nunn, Mayor Finch’s Chief Administrative Officer, stating “All outstanding items have been resolved and the Temporary Certificate of Occupancy has been issued effective today.”  Andrew Nunn responded by writing “Thank you. Please work on outstanding issues and a timetable for a full CO and report back to me.” Those cc’d on the email include Mayor Finch’s Chief of Staff, Deputy Administrative Officer, Director of Economic Development, City Attorney, Chief of Fire, Deputy Chief of Staff, Communications Director and the Chief Fire Marshall.

But a year later, Moales still hasn’t resolved “those outstanding issues” and doesn’t have a permanent certificate of occupancy, although he continues to collect on what is nearly a $1 million a year daycare grant from the Malloy administration.

Although Moales isn’t meeting his legal requirements, neither the Malloy administration nor the City of Bridgeport have stepped in to close down Moales’ daycare operation … even though it is inconceivable that any other daycare provider in the state would be allowed to stay open without a permanent certificate of occupancy.

What makes the Moales situation particularly relevant is that despite being Chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education, Moales never briefed his fellow board members on the controversy engulfing his daycare operation–an operation that is almost exclusively paid for with state funds that go through the Bridgeport Board of Education.

And while Moales was able to fly under the State Department of Education’s rules on daycare programs, he was helping Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, and Pryor’s friend, Paul Vallas, give a multi-million dollar contract to Jumoke/FUSE’s CEO, Michael Sharpe, to run the Dunbar School. Sharpe got the contract despite the fact that he and his company had no experience running a school outside of Hartford and was already running into problems with the Milner School in Hartford.

The action the Bridgeport Board of Education takes tonight will speak volumes about just how much power the Malloy administration has to divert scarce public resources to favored private companies or whether those days are coming to an end.



  1. One of my fellow OIB readers is more talented than I am with technology. I would like to hear Jonathan deliver his comments using his natural voice. He is pointing at the Bridgeport BOE action on a very difficult school situation one year ago. I seem to remember any number of individuals were part of the decision to involve the folks from Hartford. School governance procedures were followed, yes???

    So Jonathan, who was not present to my knowledge at the public meetings regarding Dunbar with the prospective changes, today writes a piece about a “backroom deal” and proceeds to spend most of the essay dumping on Ken Moales who was one of nine BOE members involved in whatever vote the BOE took to authorize Jumoke.

    It is clear Pelto has no love to lose for Moales, Pryor, Vallas or Sharpe, and he can repeat ad nauseum the “facts,” real or contrived, to support his derision. But the real acid test is what happened this year at Dunbar? He doesn’t touch this. What Board committee has pursued oversight? How do the parents and governance folks consider changes in their neighborhood school? That is where the rubber hits the road.

    I am sorry to be asking now, but if Sharpe did not have the right credentials, OK. And Vallas’ experience was no substitute for an educational PhD either, according to Pelto. What is the educational background, formal education and practical experience of one Jonathan Pelto, for goodness’ sake? I have not asked the question before, and cannot remember such a disclosure, but for such an active commentator, one is prompted to ask. No background police report necessary at this moment, although if you are running for Governor, is there anyone who thinks it might be common sense? Time will tell.

    1. Here is some bio data. It is an autobiography, so you can read it as tainted.;
      This seems to be a clear political history:
      General background info:
      Jon listed himself as: journalist Jonathan Pelto in a document from CCSU, Department of History, Annual Report 2011‐2012 even though he has no degree in journalism.
      He seems to have gone to UConn three times and graduated with a masters in American Government with a specialty in campaign finance and BA in Public Policy. He went to UConn School of law but stopped. He started working for a Pelto oil company but quickly went into government. He served for nine years building bridges with one hand and burning them down with the other. It is rumored he is working with Foley to dilute the vote and defeat Malloy. Pelto denies working with Republicans. He currently runs a blog and once owned a marketing company called Impact Strategies consisting of him and his wife. That company seems to have been dissolved. Initially he had no-bid contracts from various political friends to hype different projects in Hartford CT. He got $24K from Barbara Kennelly. Those friends quickly disappeared. His only platform seems to be education and supporting the teachers union.

  2. The city of Bridgeport has just outsourced Substitute teachers to a group called Source for Teachers. What is this group getting paid to do what one individual “Jennifer” at the board of Ed. had to do with Subfinder. Is this a legit group? Why? Is it because they want to find even more qualified individuals to fill a $70 a day job without benefits? Is anyone familiar with this group? Why does anyone have to fill out more paperwork. Does the board not have the capability to pass on the information? The fingerprints and bonding with the police department and give up another few hours to listen to what???

  3. Attack the messenger. Some barking at the wrong tree. The Hartford Courant broke the Jumoke/FUSE Charter School Management scandal and Pelto is just building on it and connecting the dots. Time is telling us Vallas and Moales aren’t Sharp(e) cookies. After one year managing Dunbar, time has made it clear Michael Sharpe, well, is not a Dr. It’s time for people to realize what is happening is “time” is telling us the nasty things that were taking place behind the scenes. Pelto has no control of “time.” Time will tell, but will one like what it says?

  4. This is a funny thing about Pelto and his conspiracy theories. Much like the Republicans in congress who stretch to continue their conspiracy theories about the IRS scandal, Pelto ‘credits’ all the BOE problems to four people: Moales, Vallas, Pryor and Malloy. The question that begs to be asked is, what do the other eight members of the BOE do? Vallas worked for those nine people. Malloy and Pryor shouldn’t have any influence on the BBOE. None of the BBOE members are even ‘machine’ Democrats and quite a few are not even Democrats. Still, every time something ‘stupid’ happens (FUSE Charter School), eight of the board members had their heads in the sand. When something ‘good’ (BOE hires Frances Rabinowitz) happens, it is ‘thank you’ Baraka. So what are the other eight BBOE members doing while Moales hires FUSE and writes himself a daycare contract? Sleeping? Any blame for problems the BOE has falls evenly on all the members. Or you would have to believe Moales is the only member with any ability to get anything done and runs roughshod over all the others. If this is the case the blame for BOE problems falls more so with the other eight members for being ineffective and out of touch with what is going on the their organization. Basically, not doing their jobs.


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