Ray RaimundiMay 15, 2018, 8:53 pm

Invoices show district gave over $50K to Hempstead superintendent’s company

FOIA request reveals documents to community organizers

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HEMPSTEAD — Village residents are heading to the polls to vote for two Hempstead school board trustee positions. The vote is happening amid new documents revealed to FiOS1 News surrounding suspended school superintendent Shimon Waronker.

Waronker is once again in the spotlight ahead of trustee elections happening Tuesday after documents were uncovered during a Freedom of Information Act request conducted by members of Hempstead. The documents were invoices showing checks the school district issued to the New American Initiative, a consulting company founded by Superintendent Waronker.

Waronker made no secret of the relationship he had with the company when he took on the position as district leader. But what Trustee Candidate Carmen Ayala and community organizers say is that these documents reveal Waronker's alleged push to control RFP submissions for the district in favor of the company he founded.

The invoices show tens of thousands of dollars paid to New American Initiative by the district. One check, issued in November last year, for over $51,000 for consulting fees.

Invoices were issued last August to the New American Initiative for $500 for a summer training conducted at Harvard University by his company which was "not allowable" according to a letter issued to Waronker a month prior by the state education department.

The school district says there is an ongoing investigation into Dr. Waronker, including into circumstances surrounding the bidding process, the screening process, and the award of a contract by the district to the New American Initiative. Investigators are looking into when and how payments were processed and who validated the services rendered before the payments were made by the district to the NAI.

In a statement, the Hempstead School District spokeswoman said, "The district is committed to sound fiscal responsibility in the management of the district's finances. It is of utmost importance to the residents of our school district that we are effective and responsible stewards of their resources."

Dr. Waronker's attorney, Fred Brewington, says there is no connection between his client and these invoices.

Dr. Waronker is on paid suspension until June 1.

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