More examples of possible misuse of state funding at Odyssey Charter School are coming to light.
The Delaware Department of Education placed Odyssey on formal review last month after complaints it misused state funding and conflicts of interest involving the American Hellenic Educational Association.
But now Odyssey School Board member Elias Rigas says former board president Dimitri Dandalos authorized $177,000 in additional construction work on AHEPA’s Ithaka Early Learning Center without the board’s knowledge. It previously acknowledged spending $91,500 on the center.
It comes just before Monday’s final meeting of the Charter School Accountability Committee conducting the school’s review.
Rigas said Dandalos and Chatham Bay’s President Jay Freebery decided to do the work and hope fundraising and Ithaka’s launch would generate the revenue to pay the company. The project is now dormant.
“They proceeded to go along that route,” he said. “But when didn’t didn’t go well for Ithaka, then the contractor decided ‘I still want my money and who am I going to get my money from? I can’t get it from Ithaka. Let me go see if I can get it from Odyssey Charter School.’”
Rigas sees a problem that Dandalos didn’t tell the Odyssey board and served on it and Ithaka’s board.
“And that definitely caused a little bit of a conflict, which is one of the issues that we’re addressing as part of the governance of Odyssey in general,” he said.
Freebery disputes Rigas’s account and similar one laid out in a message Friday on behalf of School Board President Josiah Wolcott.
Freebery said worked for Odyssey not Ithaka. He adds he dealt with Odyssey Campus Operations Officer Riccardo Stoeckitcht throughout the construction period and has submitted a bill for payment several times.
Rigas said Dandalos paid $23,000 for Ithaka construction work. He said some or all of it came from a February gala benefiting Odyssey and Ithaka. Dandalos denies misusing funds, but declined to comment further.
Rigas also said a $100,000 Welfare Foundation grant to Ithaka was instead moved to Odyssey, but he says the foundation approved the transfer.