Silly question, right? Last week, FBI raided several Philadelphia offices as part of an ongoing investigation of Chaka “Chip” Fattah, Jr. He is the son of US Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Pennsylvania). According to the Philadelphia Inquirer,
“Federal authorities are investigating why a company owned by the son of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah was paid $450,000 by an education firm that has received millions in contracts from the Philadelphia School District, according to sources familiar with the probe.
Agents from the FBI and U.S. Treasury Department served two search warrants early Wednesday for Chaka Fattah Jr.’s records, the first at his apartment at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton.
They also seized Fattah’s records and a computer from the Logan Square law office of David T. Shulick. He is president of Delaware Valley High School, a for-profit company that contracts with school districts to educate students with discipline problems.”
So, where is the South Florida angle? Enter Mikel Jones, a south Florida lawyer and “childhood friend” of Congressman Fattah. Once again, the Inquirer provides details:
“The FBI has been asking questions about Fattah Jr.’s business operations for at least a year.
In January 2011, agents went to the South Florida home of Mikel Jones, a lawyer and childhood friend of Fattah Sr., as part of an investigation into Jones’ finances.
During a daylong conversation, they also asked Jones why he had paid more than $90,000 to 259 Strategies and to American Royalty, another Fattah Jr. firm that provided luxury services to well-heeled clients, according to an FBI document that summarized the conversation.
It surfaced last year in a federal fraud case against Jones. He was convicted and is appealing.
Jones, who ran a personal injury law firm, told the agents that he hired the younger Fattah to help expand his business – and because Fattah had ‘access,’ the document said.”
Who is Mikel Jones? Oh, just a former aide to Broward’s own Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-Impeached).
Last November, the Broward/Palm Beach New Times reported,
“Mikel Jones, a former aide to Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings, was convicted for his role in a scheme to defraud a New York venture capital fund that financed the operation of his Philadelphia law firm.
Jones, a 55-year-old Boynton Beach resident, was convicted of conspiracy, money laundering, 14 counts of wire fraud, and 14 counts of mail fraud. His wife, Dona Nichols Jones, was convicted of conspiracy, money laundering, and 14 counts of wire fraud.”
Charter schools have become the bastion of the well-connected. More to come…