Sunday, June 8, 2014

FBI Raids, Concept Charter Schools, and Rahm

It's weird how the feds are always looking at charter school guys that Rahm Emanuel hangs out with.

Earlier today, I reported on a Sharon Higgins alert that one of the Concept schools in Indiana has been raided by the FBI in connection with "a white collar crime" investigation, as the FBI put it.

The FBI also indicated to the Indy Times reporter that they were looking at "19 charter schools in various states."

It's my guess that those schools are in the Concept system, and I'm sure hoping some local journos start sniffing around. The FBI did, after all, raid a Concept school, and Concept does operate (over) 19 schools in various states. And they're certainly an intriguing bunch of fellows when you start looking at the whole picture.

The founder (and current board member) of the FBI-targeted Indiana charter school is a man named Bilal Eksili. How long do you think it took Sharon to find a picture of Mr. Eksili with Rahm Emanuel?

The answer would be five minutes. So here it is, a picture of Rahm Emanuel and the man who founded and basically runs the school that the FBI just raided, in what appears to be a much larger-scale investigation into the Concept schools. 

Don't you love Twitter? The love goes back and forth.

 Anyway, here's who's who in the above tweet, to the best of my knowledge:
1. Suleyman Turhanogullari, president of the Turkish American Federation of the Midwest. 
2. Salim Ucan of Concept Schools
3. F*ck You, Lewis!
4. Bilal Eksili, of the FBI-raided charter in Indianapolis. Also associated with Niagara.  Leader of many, many junkets for policymakers.
5. Tamer Copuroglu, president Turkish American Chamber of Commerce.

I find it useful to think of all of these organizations, with their frequent re-namings, and their revolving cast of characters, to be just subsidiary groups of one big organization. And you know what organization I'm talking about.

Anyway, Mr. Eksili is huge on Twitter. Here's one of him and a certain Turkish autocrat, back in the day when they could be in the same room together (in 2013).

Again, for the record:

1. Bilal Eskili, of the FBI-raided Concept school. Friend of Rahm? Who knows.
2. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the prime minister of Turkey.
3. No clue. [Update: We're guessing that's Faruk Taban, who runs the entire Gulenist umbrella organization, the Turkic American Alliance. And yes, he was also running a charter school in Reno (the Coral Academy of Science) back in 2007. He's also listed as a director of the EMO that services the Gulen-linked schools out West (the Accord Institute). ]

Whenever you see a picture of someone in the US posing with the Turkish prime minister, prior to 2014, the odds are you're looking at someone who runs a charter school, or who formerly did so. After 2014? Not so much.  

Here's Eskili with the Republican Adam Kinzinger; these guys are entrenched out in Rockford.

The guy gets around. The odds are that if you are in a political office in Illinois, and it's during office hours, then there's a guy from one of the Gulen Movement nodes out in your waiting room, with a camera, getting ready to invite you to one thing or another, possibly a junket to Turkey. Or write a check.

One example, and then I'll stop. Do you remember that I mentioned that Tammy Duckworth wrote a letter of support to the Gulen-linked Turquoise festival in Rosemont? The one where the charter kids competed in a chance to go to Turkey? Well, Tammy Duckworth got $2,000 from one of the Rockford guys (Celal Evliyaoglu--I'm not sure if he's pictured in any of these Eskili tweets) in 2012--- the guy who is listed as the accountant for the Turkish American Society in Chicago. So, for two grand, they got to read a letter from a Congresswoman at the Gulen-linked talent show in Rosemont.
(Confusing, I admit. The man lives in Rockford, apparently, and is the accountant for the Chicago organization. You really do need a whiteboard to write these posts.)

You have to admit, the political outreach arm of these charter schools--- and the larger Movement of which they are a part--- is amazing. They make UNO look like a train station dice game. Which it sort of is.

Someone really needs to start calling the Concept schools to get statements from them about whether or not the FBI has taken records from them, whether search warrants were involved, and the details of all of those things. If they're raiding the Indianapolis school, and if they're investigating 18 other schools, then it's almost a certainty that they're looking at the schools here in Illinois.

New to the topic? Please see some of my previous posts.

Is the FBI Looking At Chicago Charter Schools?
Your International Intrigue Update
Here, Have A School
Dispatch From The Parallel State


  1. I have a big section on Gulen in my book Hoosier School Heist and Concept is highlighted. Thanks for posting this, Tim!

  2. Your pieces at Firedoglake have been invaluable. It's essential background reading.

  3. Any of those Turks associated with the Gulen movement, or the Gulen schools in the U.S.?