Lawyers in Brown's fraud case defend her multiple salaries

Posted: December 07, 2013

A compensation expert hired by the defense in Dorothy June Brown's charter school fraud trial told a federal jury Thursday that Brown was paid more than most local charter leaders when she was a chief executive.

But Paul R. Dorf pointed out the three city charters Brown founded had far better test results than other charters and the Philadelphia School District.

He said 100 percent of Brown's students had scored at advanced or proficient in math on state test scores from 2005 to 2008, compared with 46 percent at other city charters and 48 percent at district schools.

Although Dorf, managing director of Compensation Resources Inc. of Upper Saddle River, N.J., had no idea what criteria the charter boards had used to determine Brown's pay, he said superior test scores would have been an appropriate factor to consider.

Dorf's analysis found that the annual salaries paid to Brown, including $150,000 from Ad Prima in 2007-08 and $193,597 from the Laboratory Charter School that same year, were both above the market rate. The average charter CEO in Philadelphia was paid $115,800 in 2007-08, he said.

During cross-examination, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joan E. Burnes pointed out that Brown actually was paid a total of $1.4 million that year from the four schools she founded.

In addition to the two CEO salaries Brown collected that year, she also received money from two management firms she controlled. Burnes said Brown's AcademicQuest L.L.C. received $257,183 from Planet Abacus, and the Agora Cyber Charter School paid her Cynwyd Group L.L.C. $848,273.

Burnes asked Dorf why he prepared separate charts for each of Brown's schools but did not show the total income she had received from them each year.

"There was no reason to do that, and I didn't do that," said Dorf, who has billed Brown's defense attorneys $46,241 for his work.

Brown stepped down as CEO of both Ad Prima and Lab in October 2008 after the state law was changed to bar charter operators from being paid by more than one school.

Prosecutors contend that the boards of Agora and Planet Abacus never approved the management contracts with Brown's firms and that documents she produced were fabricated.

Brown is charged with defrauding her network of schools of $6.7 million and then participating in a scheme with two other former administrators to cover it up.

Testimony will resume Monday. U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick told jurors Thursday he expects they will begin deliberations next Wednesday.


martha.woodall@phillynews.com215-854-2789

 

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