Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wizzards owner Leonsis underwrites D.C. charters. Then gets a new practice arena from taxpayers.

"...we in here talking about practice. I mean, listen, we're talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, we talking about practice." -- Alan Iverson
D.C. billionaire venture capitalist/philanthropist Ted Leonsis helps bankroll all of the district's privately-run charter schools through his Venture Philanthropy Partners. That includes more than $5.5 million to KIPP DC. But there's a catch to his generosity. 

You see, Leonsis has an interesting philosophy. He believes that instead of paying taxes on his investment profits, taxpayers ought to pay him. This year the payment comes in the form of a new $55 million basketball practice arena for his Washington Wizzards. Taxpayers are picking up most of the cost. 

According to CSN:
The project will cost an estimated $55 million... The Wizards' lease with the city is for 19 years and involves a $23 million investment from the government... Events D.C. [the city's official convention and sports authority] is contributing about half of the total cost for construction.
The latest on D.C. charters... The attorney general has filed two lawsuits alleging that D.C. charter school leaders used for-profit companies to divert millions of taxpayer dollars into their own pockets. The D.C. Public Charter School Board, which oversees all city charter schools, has no legal right to examine the books and records of those private companies, and says it therefore has little ability to monitor how those dollars are spent. -- Washington Post

As if KIPP DC needed the $$$... They just received another $4.2 million gift this week, from Joel Smilow, the president and chief executive of Playtex Products. Obvious connection there.

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