State agency determines Malloy ally Rev. Kenneth Moales overcharged state by at least $75,000 for day care slots

According to an internal audit and investigation conducted by the professional staff at the Connecticut Department of Education, Reverend Moales, Jr., along with his mother and sister, illegally or inappropriately billed the taxpayers of Connecticut for at least 75,000 in state child care subsidies for day care centers owned by the Moales family and located in buildings owned by Kenneth Moales Jr. and his church.

Moales is Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch’s campaign treasurer, one of Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s loudest Bridgeport supporters, and he spearheaded the failed effort to keep Paul Vallas on as the superintendent of schools in Bridgeport.

Moales’ role in the Bridgeport take-over fiasco goes back to when the Malloy administration appointed Kenneth Moales Jr. to Bridgeport’s illegal board of education, a board that was created when the state took over the Bridgeport School System.  Malloy’s action and the illegal board were eventually struck down as illegal by the Connecticut Supreme Court.

However, thanks to Moales’ close relationship with Mayor Finch, Moales got on to the democratically elected board of education as one of Finch’s Democratic endorsed candidates and went on to serve as the Chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education during the time period this daycare billing scandal was taking place.

As Wait What? readers may recall, Kenneth Moales and his extensive property holdings have been facing foreclosure proceeding for more than a year.  Those buildings house daycare centers owned by Moales’ family.

As readers may also recall, in the summer of 2012, Moales and his family “won” a sweetheart deal for 60 of the 72 new day care slots that Bridgeport received under Governor Malloy’s state-wide “early childcare initiative.”

Although there were plenty of other providers in Bridgeport that could have utilized those new day care slots, the lucrative contract went to the two daycare centers run by Moales’ sister and mother.  Not only are those facilities located in buildings owned by Moales’ church, but the daycare centers pay rent to Moales.  The rental costs for the daycare centers have skyrocketed from $20,000 to over $100,000 in recent years.

When the Malloy initiative was announced, potential day care providers were required to guarantee that they would have the new day care slots available and filled no later than October 1, 2012.

However, according to official state documents that were recently acquired by Wait, What?, of the 1,000 new daycare spaces, as of February 1, 2013 – four months after the program began – only 950 of the 1,000 spots were being utilized.  Of the 50 unfilled slots, 40 of them were allocated to Moales.

In addition, upon further investigation, the professional staff at the State Department of Education determined that Moales’ family had actually billed the state for students who were either not part of the state funded program or may not have even existed.

As a result of their over billing the state determined that more than $75,000 had been inappropriately paid to Moales’ family.

In a particularly bizarre move, the Connecticut State Department of Education’s initial finding was appealed by Paul Vallas, not by Moales family.  The appeal came with Vallas was still running the Bridgeport School System.

On January 14, 2014, an official State Appeal Committee met and determined that the Moales family had, in fact, billed the state for services that they did not legally provide and that an amount of $75,114 had been inappropriately paid to Moales and his family.

One of the underlying issues is that while Moales and his family claimed that they had three day care sites available, only two were licensed.  The third site, which was supposed to be located in Moales primary church building, could not be licensed due to a series of problems, not the least of which being that the church itself did not have a permanent certificate of occupancy.

According to the State Department of Public Health, the third site was eventually licensed on August 15, 2013, ten months after the Moales family had said they would have the room necessary to fulfill their contract.

Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that while the 3rd site was approved, it remains unclear whether Moales was ever able to acquire the permanent certificate of occupancy that is necessary in order to get a day care facility license.

The full set of state documents also highlight a series of extremely troubling concerns,

  • In a July 31, 2013, months after the Moales family had already begun billing for the larger number of slots, the State Department of Education reported that, “The workflow for approving a new application still shows several pending and/or incomplete items (including the application fee, affidavit, property history form, building and zoning approvals, staff work schedule, organization chart, background checks, health consultant agreement, floor plan, outdoor play space sketch and water supply attachments/test).

Even more incredible is that the July 31, 2013 email also stated that, “A complete corrective action plan response is also outstanding from the initial inspection conducted on 2/28/13).

And what may be the most damning piece of evidence of all is that on February 25, 2013, when the Connecticut State Department of Education professional staff informed Moales’ sister that the state would be re-allocating the unused slots to another child center so that Bridgeport so that children could actually get the services they needed and deserved, Moales’ sister responded by writing,

“I forwarded this information to my boss.  He asked me to make you aware that he has spoken to Stephon Pryor and our slots are filled and confirmed.  We are simply waiting for licensing to come and inspect.  The children are CONFIRMED and Bridgeport does not have to loose the slots.”

This email,  along with a variety of others raise extraordinarily serious questions about whether Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, knowingly allowed the Moales family to have children in an unlicensed day care center and whether his lack of action allowed the Moales family to illegally or inappropriately bill the state for services that were not properly rendered.

All of these materials will be turned over to the State Auditors and other appropriate officials in the hope that an independent investigation will be conducted into Kenneth Moales Jr. and his day care operations and whether top officials in the Malloy administration were engaged in any efforts to cover up or protect their Bridgeport political allay.

Check back for more on this breaking story.

  • Sleepless in Bridgeport

    Unless I am wrong Holy Moly’s name turned up as somehow involved with Stevie Wonder Perry’s bid for his “Company” to manage a Charter School in Bridgeport. I mean crap. How blatently and obvious is this political corruption and how much longer is our do nothing AG going to stand idle. Pryor, Finch, Holy Moly, Vallas all need to go to jail and have ajoining cells.

    • speaking up

      In April, the CT Dep’t of Ed was scheduled to approve 2 new State Charter schools, and they did so. They also approved 2 additional schools (it remains to be seen where the funding for these 2 additional schools will come from). One of these additional schools is Dr. Steve Perry’s “Harbor Prep” in Bridgeport. Moales is a “Governing Council Member” of this school.

      • Castles Burning

        The operative verb is WAS (and he did “conduct”–literally–the rallies for the Bpt charters that was the only sound heard by the SBOE) since he announced at the last BOE meeting that he had resigned this position. It took some time before the fact of this particular (there are SO MANY) “conflict of interest” was determined by whomever is pulling the puppet strings to be troublesome enough to be discontinued.

        I want to make it clear that the Reverend, who was touting how magnificent all things educational were in Bpt under the reign of Vallas, can no longer say the words public schools without the adjective failing when he refers to BPS. The sooner he can be gone the better but I am stating what has been too too obvious for way too long.

        Excellent reporting, Jonathan. Much gratitude.

    • Guest

      Heck, why not put them all in the same cell. They are all in bed together, anyway. We can save some taxpayer money.

    • Rafael G

      I was juuust wondering the same thing. O garro, perry now moales, these guys were all working in the same kitchen. But so far perrys th e only one who hasnt been caught red handed snacking from the customers plates!

  • buygoldandprosper

    Shhhh….don’t wake the attorney General. He is napping.

    • buygoldandprosper

      Jon Pelto does it again!! Great stuff and I can hardly wait for whatever else you can dig up because stories like this are just another nail in Dan’s political coffin.
      Dan embraced the “powers” in the Sewer by the Sound and when you sleep with pigs…

    • realsaramerica

      Yeah, when Jepsen was going to take a different approach from Blumenthal, he wasn’t kidding.

    • ReTired

      Or he’s reading the paper before break time!

  • realsaramerica

    If this is confirmed, would this be a criminal or a civil prosecution against Pryor? #enquiringmindswanttoknow

  • George

    So if one is found guilty of defrauding the Department of Education, does that in any way result in being denied further funding from the Board? I know that sounds naive, but if you knowingly break the law and in effect steal money from a government agency, doesn’t that mean you can no longer do business with them? This is one exceedingly corrupt state we live in.

    • realsaramerica

      One would think. But this is Corrupticut. To make things worse, it’s Bridgeport, where patronage is a way of life, but the state party turns a blind eye.

  • guest

    Ernie and Joe went to prison why not Moales?

    • ReTired

      And so did John, who might just return if convicted and sentences for a return visit!

  • Linda174

    To Moales and his sis: it’s LOSE the slots, not loose.

  • Guest

    Was any of this federal funding?

    • guest

      Oh Snap…. Nahhhhh…. Wishful thinking. The Feds are on the side of the deformers. Arne encourages the mismanagement of federal taxpayer $$$$ for his grande privatization scheme.

  • jrp1900

    In the good old days of machine politics, municipal corruption was mostly about garbage services, construction contracts, voting fraud, permits and zoning decisions, and things of that nature. Now that public education has been drawn into the privatizing maw, there is plenty of opportunity to extend corruption in the direction of schools and educational services. And that is what we see in Bridgeport: corruption spreading into every nook and cranny of education universe.
    The Rev Kenneth Moales (a man of Mammon rather than God) is a player in real estate and he is also a player in the Bridgeport Democratic machine. This is already enough to get the nose sniffing the air for corruption. But then we find out that the Moales’ family owns day care centers which are subsidized by the State and the centers are located in bulidings owned by the patriarch himself, Rev Moales. The Moales family (perhaps with God’s intervention) won a sweetheart deal for 60 of the 72 day care slots funded by the State under “the early childcare initiative.” Jon Pelto reports that the rental costs for day care centers have skyrocketed from $20,000 to over $100,000 in recent years. Perhaps the huge increase in rent has something to do with the State becoming the paying customer. Incredibly, the Moales’ family have billed the State for services NOT rendered. Stefan Pryor has personally assured the Moales’ clan that they will get “their” money.
    Can this all be true? The entire set up reeks of conflicts of interests, of nepotism, favoritism and quid-pro-quos of the sort that draw te attention of the FBI. The Rev Moales is clearly a fixer for Malloy’s people; he carries their water in educational politics, and in return they make sure he gets some honey. It’s typical municipal stuff, but it’s so f*%#ing blatant here. It’s as if the principals are operating on the assumption: “we will do everything out in the open, people will be so shocked that they won’t believe they are seeing what they are indeed seeing.” The other explanation is that these people (Moales, Malloy, Pryor) are just arrogant and stupid and they think they can get away with anything…

    • Mary Gallucci

      Great comment, and Jonathan, fantastic scoop!
      given the totally lawless climate where school reform is concerned, I
      am not sure such exposure is enough…. it ought to be. The lawmakers–legislators–should show
      some guts–here is an opportunity offered up on a silver platter! Don Williams–he’s not even running for re-election! have some integrity, peeps. If the Dems show some indignation and righteousness (dare I call it “grit”?), they might even be able to redeem some of the lap-dog ass-licking they’ve displayed since Malloy took office (or shall we say, “bought office”?)

    • Philip Stull

      I wonder how many D votes he has promised to deliver? How many did he deliver in 2010?

      • ReTired

        Let’s hope the AG wakes up and for the upcoming election posts a guard at the ballot box!

  • R.L.

    Where is the FBI?

    • JMC

      Let’s hope that the FBI Political Corrupution Unit which the papers said moved into New Haven a few months ago is looking at such things.

  • Castles Burning

    More money on the way to Bridgeport for early childhood education. As Linda174 says, “Beware” and “Be Aware”:

  • Rafael G

    Oh and by the way jon the courant actually made you look formidable against Malloy tonight!

  • Castles Burning

    Has any other media “picked up” this story? I just checked The Connecticut Post and only silence or absence.

  • Philip Stull

    Who said this?:

    On education, he is on a Board of Education that boasts one of the highest performing school systems in the state, and one that had a significant voice on education issues statewide. On the common core, he called out supporters for stating the program are “standards,” and not curriculum, stating that when textbooks are only available that comport to the Common core and when teachers are forced to teach to the new testing, it becomes curriculum.

    “I will work hard to make sure that decisions about your children’s
    education stay where they belong, with you and your local Board of Education,” he said. “Advocates tell us not worry about the Common Core. It is a standard, not a curriculum. This is a lie of omission. When the Common Core is linked to the Smarter Balanced Assessment, Teacher Evaluations, and soon, the SAT and ACT it will become a curriculum. When the publishing
    companies only produce texts books aligned with the Common Core it will be a profitable curriculum. When it is linked to long standing federal funding, it is a national curriculum. Teachers will be forced to comply to keep their jobs. School Boards will have to comply to prepare our children for college acceptance tests.

    Answer: the Republican running for State Senate against Ted
    Kennedy Jr.

    The tide is turning quickly.

    • R.L.

      Sounds like someone I’d vote for.

      • Len

        Philip and R.L.,
        Is it possible that we are witnessing a realignment of the party of Lincoln?

      • Mary Gallucci

        Be careful what you wish for–the republican gubernatorial candidates want MORE concessions from state workers:

        • Mary Gallucci
        • R.L.

          Ok, but what are the choices unless more political parties become viable through real campaign finance laws? Until people believe that they can vote for someone other than a democrat or republican, those candidates will continue to rule for the elite at the expense of the common. Who is there to vote for anymore? There are probably good people on “both” sides working at the local level, although I’m sure big money is affecting that as well. Who do you vote for that will prevent Wisconsin from happening here? As far as governor goes, many of us thought that would be Danny Boy. How wrong we were. If someone like Danny Boy is the best choice we have and our unions support that choice……..? Please run for Governor Jonathan. I would really like the opportunity to vote FOR someone rather than against someone. No more lesser of two evils!

        • R.L.

          Oh, I don’t wish for republicans to take office. I’m just not voting for these “democrats” anymore. I will be voting for reasonably thinking third party candidates any chance I get.

        • Philip Stull

          Just pointing out how high the level the issue of the Common Core is becoming. If candidates wish to get elected this cycle they had better take the same position as this person and develop other issues of contrast.
          That is my wish, so let’s see how many smart politicians there are.

  • It is a shame that we need to even be at this level of discussion, Moales and his cronies be it political or familial should have been ousted long ago, these are not new findings, they had a hint of corruption prior to this and he should have been stopped then, but then continued to allow this ‘man’ to rape the city that supported that same family for years… he has extended his arm from the city of Bridgeport to the state level…..and with his cronies, Vallas, Pryor, and the Mayor…..when does it stop…..smh….they all have skeletons and we continue to allow them to handle our well being…..Bridgeport stand up and become educated, your lives are not a popularity contest….just because you know someone on a personal level does not make them perfect for the job…..

    • FriiRadical

      You are right but “who will bell the cat” as the old saying goes. The people to oust him and his family are the same cronies he hangs with. Plus, dont forget, politicians are afraid should Moales and the other crooked family members be touched, Black people will demonstrate against what they will claim is racial discrimination

  • FriiRadical

    I am awed and shocked but NOT surprised! However, I would like to know what he says in “sermons” to his congregation. Or do people still go to hear him as the man of “God” who disseminates the secret codes of moral sensibilities, ethical conduct or positive compassion. The status of Bridgeport will never change as long it remains notoriously a ONE PARTY voting machine. You don’t win in Bridgeport if you are NOT a Democrat, or as my friend called it, a DemonCat