Southwest Key, Known for Migrant Shelters, Cashes In on Charter Schools

After years of pressure by students, parents as well as officials, the charters hired another provider at lower cost. The fresh vendor charged $2.86 per lunch in 2017, a drop through the $3.25 charged by Café del Sol in 2015. School board minutes have showed no further complaints.

Although Promesa’s school board can be supposed to be an independent watchdog, Southwest Key has effectively controlled This kind of. For years, the board has consisted of Mr. Sanchez; another charity executive, Alexia Rodriguez; Mr. Sanchez’s longtime friend as well as real estate partner, Ruth Hsu; as well as a Latino activist as well as retired disc jockey. Two fresh members joined last month. This kind of was not clear what Mr. Sanchez’s resignation at Southwest Key meant for his role on the school board.

Southwest Key had a pattern of hiring officials with questionable pasts, The Times found, as well as in 2011 the school board hired a superintendent, Joe Gonzales, who had been indicted almost a decade earlier for embezzlement. Seven of the eight counts were dropped, as well as Mr. Gonzales agreed to reimburse the school district to settle the eighth. He had left another job that has a buyout after being suspended over alleged financial improprieties.

“We hired him because he was not bad at what he did,” Mr. Sanchez said in a September interview.

A former board member, Martha Cotera, said the board had not been informed of Mr. Gonzales’s past, though he told The Times in which he had notified his employers about the indictment. He also said he had contested the claims of financial improprieties. “In every single case, I was right,” he said.

After Mr. Gonzales was hired, one of the charity’s for-profits, Southwest Key Green Energy & Construction, signed on a fresh subcontractor, SJ&G Contractors, for “management as well as operational support.” The company was one person: Steven J. Gonzales, Mr. Gonzales’s son, who reported directly to Mr. Sanchez, records show.