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Accounting Issues With the “Infant Toddler Program” Need to be Addressed

the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, close to $500,000 of tax dollars that had been earmarked for the K to 12 program subsidized an enterprise program (nonmandated). Another $250k of losses are projected for the coming year in that program. Moreover, there were accounting irregularities found that needed to be restated.

From the Bergen Record ,”Michael Yannone, president of the Ridgewood teachers’ union, described Dani and Kwak as relentlessly questioning Fishbein on the Infant Toddler Development Center, a program that’s already running, he said. “
Ridgewood Board of Education members have the financial responsibility to address school spending . Besides the bigoted attack on two school board trustees , the teachers union seems to suggesting its ok to cover up accounting irregularities with taxpayer money.
Why is it wrong to ask questions on something like this? How does anyone ask questions regarding this type of situation with a gentle smile and in the “right tone”?
Check it out… it’s your kids’ educational resources being siphoned and your tax dollars going where they aren’t meant to go.
See youtube:

42 thoughts on “Accounting Issues With the “Infant Toddler Program” Need to be Addressed

  1. Union Boss, supporting sleazy accounting practice. Does that surprise you?

  2. Does it involve quarters?

  3. What do we mean by “accounting IRREGULARITIES”????

    If tax dollars were misappropriated, then that MIGHT rise to the level of a crime (if there was intent and based on other factors).

    Dani and Kwak should absolutely ask questions (that’s why we elected them). We elected them to be our representatives, not to be yes men and women. And, these questions should absolutely be answered.

    The people spending the money on “things” have a fiduciary responsibility to the people paying for “things” (especially when the money comes from tax dollars!).

  4. They were hiding losses of this program by showing expenses at other elementary schools.
    This is pretty big deal and that’s probably what’s driving out some of the top leaders.
    Their last few years accounts and audits are being restated.

  5. interesting to see , the teachers union REA , ridgewood black liberation , the village bigots and one village NO vote , promote scamming ridgewood taxpayers ?

  6. in private business when your chief financial officer leaves in a huff unexpectedly it implies
    accounting mischief

  7. Bruce, “expenses” from ITDC were booked into other school’s expenses.

  8. Thank you to Mr. Dani, Ms. Kwak, and Laurie Bender for pursuing this. We, the taxpayers, appreciate their diligence.

  9. Wait a second….

    They were hiding losses (again, with taxpayer dollars)? Given the circumstances, that *might* actually be a crime. That’s a pretty big deal.

    Is there anyone investigating this?

  10. Yes Bruce it is being investigated. In spite of the disciples of Fishbein who are singing alleluia praises to his name over the “tragedy” of his departure.

  11. This was on August 31st agenda. It says “Prior period adjustment”. As per Kelly’s comments there will be a footnote in the Audit report. Benefits of ITDC employees were being booked in other school employee’s benefits accounts. This was done to hide losses in that program.

  12. Past Board members Loncto and Morgan – both CPAs and CFOs – never realized this was happening. Zzz.

  13. Dani and Kwak have sniffed the money trail, they are tracking it and following the lead, so all these resignations and “the lobby” after them, So if they had been harassing the Superintendent, where is that proof? Lot of proof of them being harassed though.
    This was an attempt to silence them and show them “their place”, the whole thing looks planned and executed by “the lobby”

  14. Since when did RW schools get into the business of funding and lending money to private businesses and taking care of infants? Meanwhile, the kids they have a fiduciary obligation to are scrambling for tutoring and coping help.

  15. Follow the money….

  16. No one working in the field would call this a ‘prior period adjustment’. That would be more like: we accrued for the relevant employees’ health care benefits in the amount of “x” during Q2, and we realized it was insufficient (or too much) in Q3, so with the new information we now book a true up/ true down related to the prior period (Q2).

    It is not: let’s omit entirely the benefits or related FICA amounts for the employees in this business unit.

    Nice try. I don’t envy the person who was given the job of trying to dress up the language around this one for the ‘investor presentation’.

  17. Michael Yannone, aka Mike, that I know is a “Union Boss”, but he is an honorable man and he is not at all emotional by nature. Not sure why he is supporting the accounting trick and want to silence the two board members who uncovered it. Something doesn’t add up here.

  18. what I want to know what are all these people getting out of supporting defrauding Ridgewood tax payers ? wingrad et al…..

  19. abacaxi, its not about Q1, Q2 etc adjustment. These expenses were hidden in non ITDC accounts, i.e. other schools accounts so other administrators who were rallying must also know about these expenses.
    The books were already closed for those years.

  20. I believe abacaxi is also saying the same thing as rest of the comments, that this is not prior period adjustment but outright wrong accounting.
    Did someone found out the reason of resignation?

  21. If this is a legitimate concern the BOE should turn this over to the county or state superintendent to investigate. This should not be tried on Facebook, the Blog, at BOE meetings or any other public forums. We have courts of law and processes in place for accusations like this. In the meantime, RPS can get back to educating our children during a pandemic.

  22. The Attorney General should be notified. Let someone with enforecment authority and zero dog in the fight investigate.

  23. Who is on point to investigate the person or persons who authorized this “irregularity”?

    Who will be held accountable?

    Given that we’re talking about public funds, should the Attorney General be involved? (this is a potential fraud case)

  24. In private enterprise you lay off people when you shut down operations.
    In Government, they just keep paying you.
    How much was spent on the program when there was no anticipation of restarting?
    I’m alright with one or two months during uncertainty, but then we all knew things were not going to open.
    If the government was a business, it would be out of business.

  25. Yes, correct, I am saying it is hogwash to call what was done a ‘prior period adjustment.’ They are just using accounting words to try for the artful dodge. I still don’t get why the District loves this program so much. What is the rationale for having this in the first place? Is the primary purpose to give District employees free and/or subsidized childcare ? This is an honest question since if the school is looking for revenue sources, they might have better luck in other areas.

  26. Thank you to Saurabh Dani, Hyun Ju Kwak, and Laurie Webber for unearthing this atrocity. And for pursuing it, even when Fishbein and Company pushed back. Fishbein’s hands are so dirty on this it’s disgusting. No amount of sanitizer is going to clean this man’s hands of this mess.

  27. In the end, this will be much adoo about nothing – just the usual PIA’s trying to find major fault where there is none.

    1. Said the chairman of Enron

  28. I was a professional at a well known accounting firm for many years. My opinion is that this matter indeed needs to be turned over to objective professionals- CPAs with experience in accounting principles for school boards. When I hear of an accounting ‘error’, no matter the organization or situation, my training tells me to entertain the possibility of fraud, and if this ‘mistake’ was intentionally made to cover up either theft or mismanagement of funds by one or more individuals. On the other hand, this could also be an error that went undetected, and in that case I would have some questions for the internal auditor as to why it was not sussed out during the end of year reporting process. Any accounting professional listening to the meeting would probably entertain the same thoughts. It is unfair to accuse anyone of wrongdoing, but the cloud of suspicion needs to be put to rest immediately by an objective professional (i.e. someone not tied to Ridgewood, the board members, etc.) hired to examine what happened, and then report back to the board. I don’t believe it comes under the job description of the board members to investigate this nor do I believe they have the expertise needed to do that.

  29. amamom, as usual, trying to downplay an issue with “If this is a legitimate concern”.

  30. Hey James. Copied this link from facebook. Can this be posted to the original post, so people like anonmom stop saying “if this us a legitimate issue”

  31. To anon accounting professional – this was not a mistake. From 2011-2016 the losses in that program were accumulating. They hired a new auditor in 2016/2017 who added an audit note asking to reduce these losses or the program will need to be closed. He mentioned that the losses can be reduced by increasing the revenue or decreasing the losses.
    The losses were reduced by ‘hiding’ the expenses in other school’s benefits accounts. This was a well known secret at the ed center. Finance committee, aka ex CFOs knew about this.

  32. In 18/19 we didn’t charge out 17,000, we would have had a profit anyway…….I had estimated we might have a deficit, so I didn’t charge out 17,000.

  33. Did Nite tell you years ago the dirt will come out. Dirty dirty dirty.

  34. “They hired a new auditor in 2016/2017 who added an audit note asking to reduce these losses or the program will need to be closed.”
    Oh…he said to REDUCE the losses.
    I thought he said to HIDE the losses.

    My Bad.

  35. The audits should absolutely be corrected. As far as the Infant Toddler Development Center is concerned, this used to be a far more viable program. Over the past several years though, the business has suffered considerable financial losses. At first, those losses were hidden by manipulating the reported costs of the ITDC’s actual expenses. Later on, that became entire categories of expenses that completely disappeared from the ITDC’s annual financial reporting. On top of this, RPS administration made the decision in 2015 to discontinue State health and safety inspections, possibly to avoid the costs associated with abating identified health and safety violations.

    There is, however, a solution that should satisfy both ITDC users and the taxpayers who want their funds to go to Ridgewood schools and district students. The Board of Education can simply put out a Request For Proposals (RFP) and have a professional come in and take over the ITDC. This would not only bring State health and safety compliance back to the ITDC, it would lift the financial burden of this program from the shoulders of the school district and actually provide a guaranteed revenue stream for our schools in the form of rental fees for RPS space the program occupies. The space it currently uses at the Glen School is worth conservatively $200,000 annually, probably more.

    We run our Before and After School programs like this, so why is there so much opposition from Fishbein, Kelly, Brogan, Kaufman, and Lembo to do the same with the ITDC? Amid year after year of bleeding district funds earmarked for RPS educational programs, what possible reason could there be not to have already done this? Instead the only two board members considering this, Ms. Kwak and Mr. Dani, have been vilified by people who have no clue about these matters or any other board business, based on their over-generalized, gratuitous, and completely incorrect assertions.

  36. Their auditor is Lerch, Vinci & Higgins

  37. Fishbein’s Legacy.
    No wonder he rendered his resignation (and blamed it on the Board)

  38. They lost their Babe Ruth to another local full-time pre-K program. Then they lost their Lou Gherig to retirement. The staff that remained failed to inspire confidence in parents who had grown accustomed to the services of an all-star lineup, year in, year out. An exodus ensued. Clearly the ITDC never recovered.

  39. The ITDC has been in steady decline since Mr. Fishbein became the school Superintendent. There have been years and years of losses. The above poster talks like this just happened. Pathetically clueless…

  40. The Board of Education Business Administrator, Antoinette Kelly, who announced her resignation over the summer, held the title of Supervisor at Lerch, Vinci & Higgins (the accounting firm that cooked the books for the Infant/Toddler Development Center) for six years from February 1993 – February 1999. So clearly she has a relationship with them that may have facilitated the deceptive financial reporting for RPS. But remember, she works for Fishbein. That call is ultimately his.

  41. I don’t understand. The BA resigns. The Superintendent wants to resign. What about the Assistant Business Administrator OF FINANCE? Aren’t they involved somehow with ITDC? Why are we paying them 6 figures? If Dani and Kwak are “cleaning house”, I guess it’s only a matter of time before this one leaves. It’s sad no one will be left to be held accountable. I guess our taxes will go up more to make up for the losses they caused.

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