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Strange stories from FCMAT

For The Madera Tribune

Nicholas M. Retana.


If you are a regular reader of The Madera Tribune, you no doubt are familiar with the audit that has just been completed at ETAA, a Madera charter school. It took FCMAT, the state agency that conducted the “extraordinary audit,” two years to examine the school’s financial records. The investigation wound up a few days ago, and for this writer, it leaves the tail wagging. On the one hand, it seems to point a finger at the school’s former Executive Director, Nicholas M. Retana, Ph.D. On pages 5 and 6 of the 100-page audit, the report presented findings that claim to demonstrate that Retana had the “opportunity, motivation, rationalization, attitude, and capability to divert public charter school funds for his own personal use and that of his family.”

However, on page 87 the audit attempts to cover its behind with this disclaimer, “… FCMAT is not making statements that could be construed as a conclusion that fraud, misappropriation of funds and/or assets, or other illegal fiscal activities have occurred.”

Now I don’t have a clue as to whether or not Retana is guilty of fraud or misuse of public funds, but FCMAT seems to think he is, and that’s why I’m writing this. The stuff FCMAT has published is at least interesting and does raise the question of whether or not Retana is guilty of misconduct or not. (I also have a hunch the County Superintendent of Schools and Madera Unified’s Superintendent agree with FCMAT as to Retana’s fiscal impropriety.)


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