There's an interesting connection between two Fort Wayne charter
schools and the subject of a Washington Post
story We published today.
The C Street Center, a $1.8 million townhouse in Washington, leases
living space to several conservative congressmen (several of whom have
been exposed for extramarital affairs). The property qualifies for
tax-exempt status through its affiliation with the Fellowship
Foundation, a Virginia-based group that sponsors the National Prayer
Thirteen Ohio clergy members have filed a complaint with the IRS,
alleging that the C Street Center is "an exclusive club for powerful
officials ... masquerading as a church."
The Fellowship is also known as the Family, according to the New York
Times -- "a secretive international Christian network" whose "purpose
is to cultivate relationships with politicians, business people and
military leaders, bringing them together for prayer and Bible study
and sometimes getting involved in matters of diplomacy and foreign
Here's the local connection: Dennis Bakke, founder of the two Imagine
schools in Fort Wayne and two in Indianapolis, is a Family insider,
according to a book written by Jeff Sharlet. This excerpt from an
NPR story recounts the creepy details of the Family and Bakke's
involvement in a controversial dam project in Africa. Bakke's
assertion in the piece of "we don't go away" sounds strikingly
similar to the language he used in his infamous Imagine Schools memo.
While the IRS is investigating tax-exempt status of properties, it
might also want to consider if the Imagine Schools properties now owned by
a real estate investment trust and leased back to taxpayers (for $740,000 a year, in the case of the Imagine MASTer Academy) should be
on the tax rolls.