Farmington Schools Superintendent Fires Back at Thomas More Allegations
Zurvalec addresses charges that the district violated the Open Meetings Act and gave the Islamic Cultural Association 'favored treatment' in the sale of the former Eagle Elementary School building.
Farmington Public Schools Supt. Susan Zurvalec issued a scathing response Thursday to allegations raised by the Thomas More Law Center over the 2011 sale of Eagle Elementary School to the Islamic Cultural Association (ICA).
The Center asked State Attorney General Bill Schuette to investigate whether corruption was involved in the sale to the ICA, which the Center claims is tied to organizations that fund terrorist activity.
"I am writing to stand up for the reputation of this school district and its Board of Education, against irresponsible claims of corruption made by the Thomas More Law Center," Zurvalec wrote in a letter that was sent to media and through district-wide email.
Among other things, her statement refuted claims that the district violated the state's Open Meetings Act and inappropriately sold the property through "inside dealing and favored treatment."
Zurvalec said school board members met with an attorney in closed session on April 20, 2010, to review a legal opinion and "ensure that we were in compliance with all legal requirements for the disposition or sale of property", a meeting permitted under the Open Meetings Act. She included a timeline of the board's actions.
Zurvalec has also submitted a letter to Schuette that "indicates we are fully prepared to rebut any and all allegations in detail."
"In closing, I can assure this community that we have been transparent and appropriate in all our transactions regarding the sale of Eagle school," she wrote. "It is unfortunate that, because of a few people, we are still unable to access the $1.1 million from the sale for the benefit of our students, and we must spend time and precious resources defending against baseless claims in multiple forums."
A copy of Zurvalec's letter, with attachments, is posted with this article.
Board members Howard Wallach and Karen Bolsen on July 24 rebutted charges that included bribery and illegal campaign contributions. Wallach showed video tape from the board's Oct. 18, 2011 meeting to refute the Center's claim that the board voted at that meeting to extend the closing date for the transaction.
Officials have also pointed out that the ICA is not listed on any U.S. government data base of companies with terrorism ties.