The Trombetta indictment: A triple shame
In the end, it was nothing more than an old-fashioned skimming operation. At least that's what federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh allege in an 11-count indictment for mail fraud, filing false tax returns and conspiracy against Nick Trombetta.
Mr. Trombetta, 58, of East Liverpool, Ohio, was the brain trust behind the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, the state's largest. Prosecutors laid out a complicated scheme in which they allege Trombetta set up company after company to siphon nearly $1 million for his personal use.
They were, of course, taxpayer dollars.
Trombetta's accountant, Neal Prence, is charged with filing those bogus returns.
The indictment is a triple shame. First, there's the alleged violation of public trust. Then there's the fact that Trombetta was considered something of a savior for Midland, the beleaguered Beaver County community that the charter school helped revive. And then there's the taint left on the school, not implicated in the charged funny dealings and considered to be a great success.
But the indictments also have renewed the debate over the amount of taxpayer dollars given to cyber charter schools — whether they should receive the same per pupil amount as their bricks-and-mortar counterparts, considering the latter's claimed higher overhead.
The implication is that Pennsylvania Cyber Charter's supposed lower cost structure left a bolus of extra money that led to Trombetta's alleged abuse. By all means, let's have that funding formula debate. But let's not employ a bogus cause and effect in the process.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Alle-Kiski Laurels & Lances
- The Wounded Warrior scandal: Fire Philip Burdette
- Pa. grants & tax credits: Two messes involving taxpayer underwriting of the movie industry demand a thorough investigation
- The Thursday wrap
- U.N. Watch: A diminished U.S.
- Saturday essay: A box of Halloween
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- For Ohio governor: Re-elect John Kasich
- Alle-Kiski Tuesday takes