Third complaint to be issued against US Gulen-linked schools

Lawyer says Gulen-linked charter schools in Texas commit 'systemic fraud,' filing legal complaint against them

Photo by: AA (Archive)
Photo by: AA (Archive)

Robert Amsterdam during a press conference in the US.

Amsterdam & Partners LLP law firm will file a complaint against Gulen-linked charter schools in Texas, the co-founder of the firm said on Thursday.

Robert Amsterdam told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington that the complaint reveals a series of acts of financial and administrative misconduct in and among Gulen-linked organisations in Texas.

Turkey says Gulen, who lives in the US state of Pennsylvania, has been plotting to overthrow the government by infiltrating supporters into state institutions, particularly the judiciary and police. The movement runs a network of schools and businesses that the Turkish government says has allowed his supporters to infiltrate state organs.

"In our upcoming Texas filing that will occur on Monday, we talked about a company called Solidarity Contracts. The individual who worked as a business manager at Harmony [a Gulen-linked charter schools network in Texas] from 2003 to 2009 moved over to Solidarity where he was awarded $22 million in construction contract [by Harmony] in just two years," Amsterdam said.

He added that the complaint would be the third following complaints in California last month and a lawsuit against Gulen-linked charter schools in Pennsylvania on behalf of parents.

The Amsterdam & Partners LLP is also representing the Turkish government in investigating and issuing legal proceedings against the Gulen movement which is considered as a terrorist organisation by Turkey for allegedly constituting a quasi-state in the country.

Noting the similarity between Gulen-linked schools in the US in terms of misconduct, Amsterdam described the financial and administrative affairs of the schools in Texas as "systemic fraud."

He said that like many Gulen charter schools in several states, those in Texas are also heavily dependent on "unqualified teachers" brought from Turkey with H1B visas that permit the recipients to work in the US.

"We have compared states audits of the Gulen schools which have occurred in a number of states in the United States. And these record loose internal controls, periodic insolvency, funds spent on immigration feeds in the hundreds of thousands of dollars which do not in any way benefit the children, inappropriate use of public funds, inappropriate comingling funds, use of shell entities to funnel public funds from schools to shells," he said, adding that the group has been looking after its own interests rather than those of American children.

According to the attorney, the Gulen network is expanding in the US thanks to money laundering from Turkey following a government crackdown on several companies linked to the group.

He said that the Gulen organisation is trying to get charter schools in military bases across the US in order to "replicate what they have done in Turkey," implying that the group wants to creep into the American state.

Responding to a question about whether the US administration is supporting Gulen against Turkey, Amsterdam said that it would be naive to think that the American deep state is not tacitly supporting the Gulen network but noted that he did not have substantial evidence of that.