The gang of three appeared to me as playing CYA.
I favor logic over rhetoric.
all. I think there are certain people in this city that should be getting pretty worried at this point.
There is too much good stuff here. 250 words - the Ledger limit - is not enough. Though I have to give them credit - they have been very good lately about not censoring comments.
JustAnotherOkie says that all of Sisney's arguments were very logical. Others seem quick to jump on Reynolds' premature presumption of an upcoming criminal investigation of the BA board.
Interested Citizen brought up lack of evidence.
Let's look at the basis for these assumptions: Sisney's accusations.
Sisney claimed to the media in January 2009 that he had uncovered documents, found evidence,and had conversations that showed that, in his words, "criminal activities involving the
expenditure of public money have taken place in the school district since at least the 1990’s and a massive cover-up scheme is now under way to keep this information from being disclosed."
Yet in his deposition taken December 2009 -- 11 months after he claims to have uncovered documents, found evidence, and had conversations - he says that he has no evidence.
Page 174 of the deposition:
Rainey: Do you have any facts to support that Air Assurance has improperly billed the school district for work performed?
Rainey: What evidence do you have?
Sisney: I have knowledge in my brain. I'll give you a real simple one.
Rainey: I want to know it all.
Sisney: I can't tell you it all. It's massive. They got $3.1 million over a period of years.
Sisney: Well -
Rainey: I want to know the facts that you have that Air Assurance improperly billed the school district for work it did not perform?
Sisney: No, you changed the question.
Sisney: So I don't know your question.
Rainey: Okay. Let me rephrase it.
Sisney: There we go.
Rainey: What facts do you have that Air Assurance billed the Broken Arrow Public Schools for work that it performed at the request of the Broken Arrow Public Schools?
Sisney: I'm not going to speculate, so I'm going to say I don't know.
Rainey: You don't know any facts as we sit here today?
Rainey: What facts do you have that anybody from Air Assurance ever paid an employee of the school district any money or other benefit in exchange for work being provided by the school district
to Air Assurance?
Sisney: I don't have any personal facts.
Rainey: What facts do you have that Air Assurance engaged in any illegal activities with the Broken Arrow Schools?
Sisney: Is this about Air Assurance or the District?
Rainey: Well, it goes to this whole criminal enterprise that is being asserted throughout your Complaint, so the question is as it was posed. And I'll have the court reporter read it back. (court
reporter repeats question)
Sisney: I don't know.
Rainey: You have no facts you can testify to today?
Sisney: Not today. There's an investigation going on, and I think that's going to determine my assumptions.
Rainey: Investigation by whom?
Sisney: I think it's the OSBI and the state auditor's office.
The alleged conspiracy with Air Assurance is at the very heart of Sisney's claims - yet 15 months after he filed his first lawsuit around this central issue, he has no facts? 11 months after he told
the media about criminal activities and a massive coverup specifically involving Air Assurance, and warned that "the information I’ve found, the documents I’ve collected and the conversations I've
had suggest issues that rise to the level of criminal behavior" - he has no facts? In a deposition for the court case he filed?
How could he have filed two court cases relating to this issue and then come to a deposition 15 months after filing the first one completely unprepared, with nothing whatsoever to back up his
claims? He had 6 months between the time he uncovered the corruption and the time he was fired. Would a real whistleblower not have documented what he found during the 6 months - before
filing lawsuits, getting railroaded out of his job, and announcing to the media that he had solid evidence?
How does anybody take him seriously? How can anyone explain the complete and utter lack of evidence, despite his having an enormous window of opportunity to gather, analyze, catalog, and
organize the information he had found and the documents he had collected? And where are the witnesses to the conversations he had had? He called NONE in his federal lawsuit.
Sisney says at the end of this topic in the deposition that the outcome of the OSBI and state auditor's office will determine his assumptions. Okay, 15 months after he filed his first lawsuit he
doesn't even know what his assumptions are? What in the world did he file the lawsuits based on then?
Seriously, this is your guy?
|Business-like Acumen Section
Acumen: Quickness, accuracy, and keenness of judgment or insight.
|Sisney agrees that one of the claims in his federal lawsuit is for Breach of Contract....
[Rainey] Third claim is for Breach of Contract or approximately paragraph three; is that correct?
[Sisney] That's correct.
But then says at multiple points in the deposition that he has never read his contract with BAPS...
[Rainey] This contract [with BASD] was required to pay your contract benefits through June 30th of that school year, correct?
[Sisney] I think that's right. I never read it.
[Rainey] You haven't read your contract?
[Rainey] Well, there's a provision in your contract, is there not, for a bonus to be awarded at the discretion of the board?
[Sisney] I don't know. I didn't read it.
[Rainey] I believe you testified earlier that prior to today you hadn't read your superintendent's contract with the Broken Arrow School District; is that correct?
[Sisney] I never did design it.
[Rainey] Who designed it? The attorneys for the school district at the time?
[Sisney] Well, you know, believe it or not, most of the time it was Wes Smithwick.
[Rainey] A board member?
[Sisney] A board member, then somebody I hired. I mean, he was always the one handling all that seems like, so I never did - I never asked for anything.
|He doesn't look at his paychecks either; he relies on his wife to tell him how much he makes...
[Rainey] These [paycheck documents] appear to be breakdowns of the amount of money you were paid by the Sperry School District for the 2009-2010 school year?
[Rainey] Any reason to dispute that?
[Sisney] No. Believe it or not, I don't read my contracts, and I hand my checks to my wife, and we do warrants at Sperry. They don't do direct deposits because they control interest
earnings better that way.
[Rainey] What do you understand your diminished earning capacity is as part of the damages with the Broken Arrow School District with this lawsuit?
[Sisney] Well, I think my wife told me currently it's $7,500 a month.
|He doesn't know what position is the CEO of the board of education (hint: it's the superintendent)...
[Rainey] The superintendent of a public school in Oklahoma is the chief executive officer of the board of education, correct?
[Rainey] Who is the chief executive officer of the board of education in Oklahoma, to your knowledge?
[Sisney] Could you describe the point of your question, so I'll understand it.
[Rainey] The point of my question is who is the chief executive officer of the board of education in Oklahoma, to your knowledge?
[Sisney] Are you implying that the board of education is the school district, or it's a separate entity from the infrastructure? [612: infrastructure?]
[Rainey] Dr. Sisney, you testified earlier that a school board is the elected governing body of the school district, correct?
[Sisney] I did.
[Rainey] Okay. So I'm asking you who is the chief executive officer of the board of education of a public school district in Oklahoma, to your knowledge?
[Sisney] I think your answer is a little confused because I never saw myself -
[Rainey] I'm just asking you, sir, if you know.
[Sisney] I don't know.
[Rainey] When you were the superintendent of the Broken Arrow Public Schools, who was the chief executive officer of the Broken Arrow Board of Education?
[Sisney] I don't know the answer to that in terms of your stating it.
[Rainey] Would you view the superintendent or school - do you view the position of the superintendent as being captain of the ship?
[Sisney] I think you stated that it was the CEO, so I don't know about the metaphor.
[Rainey] All when you were -
[Sisney] I've never been on a ship.
|He was the only one at the board meeting who didn't understand that his suspension was immediate...
[Rainey] And after you had been suspended - well, you were at the board meeting when the board voted to suspend you, correct?
[Rainey] And that suspension was immediate, correct; you understood that?
[Sisney] I did not understand.
[Sisney] You didn't understand?
[Rainey] When did you think it was going to take place?
[Sisney] In my brain, the next day.
|He made accusations of violations of the Oklahoma bidding law but doesn't know who it applies to...
[Rainey] Oklahoma bidding law doesn't apply to private business, does it?
[Sisney] It does apply to private business because that's who gets the competitive bid for the business as a vendor.
[Rainey] A private business that is bidding on a - who is soliciting bids for a project is not subject to the Oklahoma Competitive Bidding act, is it?
[Sisney] Private business is subject to competitive bidding law, but they don't execute competitive bidding.
...and doesn't know what the recourse or penalties are for violations...
[Rainey] You're aware that the only recourse for a violation of the Competitive Bidding Act is a protest made within ten days after the awarding of the contract, correct?
[Sisney] No, I'm not aware of that. I've read it at different times, but my answer is I don't know.
[Rainey] So what are the penalties for violation of the Competitive Bidding Act, since you're aware of the act?
[Sisney] I don't know.
|He thinks the superintendent, not the board, has the authority to hire attorneys on behalf of the school district...
[Rainey] As the superintendent, you don't have the authority to hire attorneys on behalf of the school district, do you?
[Rainey] You do?
|He provided evidence of the massive coverup he discovered to the police department but can't remember one thing that was in it...
[Rainey] Did you provide documents to the Broken Arrow Police Department when you made your referral?
[Rainey] What documents did you provide them?
[Sisney] I can't remember.
[Rainey] You can't remember a single document that you provided them?
[Sisney] I can't remember the documents.
|He alleged Open Meetings violations, but can't come up with one instance...
[Rainey] How many [Open Meetings] violations do you allege occured?
[Sisney] I don't know, but it was surreal.
[Rainey] What's the basis of your claim that there were violations?
[Sisney] I think -- I don't know the answer to that. I think other people will determine that.
[Rainey] Can you specifically state what those violations were here at your deposition?
[Rainey] Is that because you don't know what they are?
[Sisney] I'm not totally sure, so I don't know.
[Rainey] You don't know what the violation - what the alleged violations were, correct?
[Rainey] I'm not trying to put words in your mouth.
[Sisney] No. I want to say I don't know at this point.
|He waited until after he was fired - six months after discovering a massive conspiracy to defraud the district out of "at least" $3.1 million dollars - before informing law enforcement
of the criminal activities HE - the superintendent - had uncovered in HIS school district...
[Rainey] It didn't take your dismissal to decide to turn it [evidence] over to law enforcement, did it?
[Sisney] Did it take my dismissal?
[Rainey] It took your dismissal from - as an administrator of Broken Arrow Public Schools in order for you to turn over what you believed were relevant documents pertaining to criminal
activity engaged in by employees of the Broken Arrow Public Schools?
|He knew that one of his claims was false, but doesn't have any idea whether he informed the investigative agencies of that important detail...
[Rainey] Did you tell those investigative agencies that you have no proof that Air Assurance improperly billed the school district for work performed on non school district property?
[Sisney] I can't recall.
[Rainey] Well, don't you think that would be important to tell them?
[Sisney] I do. I think it would be very important.
[Rainey] It's not taken out of context, correct?
[Sisney] Well, I'm not taking anything out of context. I spend lots of time with people, and so I can't answer that question. I don't know what was said. There was - Tom said, "You need
some coffee?" and I said, "Yes", and I don't know. That was a long time ago.
|He doesn't know what mental pain and suffering this has caused him, but thinks others do...
[Rainey] What mental pain and suffering are you alleging as a result of the allegations contained in your Complaint?
[Sisney] I don't know how to answer that. I have to let others who have more knowledge about that answer that question.
[Rainey] Can you not identify the mental pain and suffering you allege to have sustained as a result of the allegations contained in the Complaint?
[Sisney] My answer is I do not know.
Things that just didn't add up, including some hard-to-explain behavior by board members:
A timeline showing the sequence of events, with sources for all information:
The real heroes (and bad guys) on the BA board:
Trying to make sense of Sisney's accusations leads to this question:
A whole lot of analysis from 612 on the events as they were reported:
Some not-very-nice comments from Sisney supporters who were either bamboozled or intentionally trying to mislead people: Comment Hall of Shame
|At Long Last: The other side of the story
|Whistleblower or Agitator?
|More laughs from the Sperry Pirate News!
"The press is more than happy to print mud-slinging
by those in positions of public trust."
- Jim Sisney, July 15, 2008, as quoted in the board
"We believe these three individuals are innocent of these charges."
- North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, April 11, 2007
"...rush to accuse..."
"...faulty and unreliable accusations"
"...a painful exercise in journalistic excess..."
"...caution would have served justice better than bravado..."
"...in the rush to condemn, a community and a state lost the ability to see clearly..."
"...our society has lost sight of the most fundamental principle of our legal system:
the presumption of innocence..."
|Matthew Vermillion was the developer of the
BAParentsVSBABOE website, later renamed to
BAParentsForTruth. But when this was pointed out in
comments, his name was quickly removed...
|* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
|* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
|(confidential to Jack: it's "veritas".)
|8/30/2012 - Sisney Indicted, Final audit released
|See our blog for the latest news!
|How a school superintendent betrayed the Broken Arrow
Public School District and community with the willing help
of others in positions of trust
|Look for commentary and news from Jolie and 612!
You can subscribe to be alerted when new articles are
added, and post your own comments!