Law­maker’s son tar­get of fed­eral search

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics -

Fed­eral agents with search war­rants took doc­u­ments Wed­nes­day from the home of the son of Rep. Chaka Fat­tah and the law of­fices of one of the son’s as­so­ciates who owns a pri­vate school that does mil­lions of dol­lars in busi­ness with the Philadel­phia School Dis­trict.

Agents from the FBI and the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice took the records from Chaka Fat­tah Jr., who lives at the Res­i­dences at the Ritz-carl­ton in down­town Philadel­phia. The younger Mr. Fat­tah, 29, runs a man­age­ment con­sult­ing busi­ness called 259 Strate­gies LLC.

“Ob­vi­ously the con­gress­man stands by his son,” said Ron Gold­wyn, the Penn­syl­va­nia Demo­crat’s press sec­re­tary. “How­ever, the con­gress­man and our of­fice have no in­volve­ment in this mat­ter.”

Rep. Fat­tah, in his ninth term rep­re­sent­ing west Philadel­phia and nearby ar­eas, is a mem­ber of the pow­er­ful House Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee.

The younger Mr. Fat­tah did not re­turn phone mes­sages left for him on his home phone.

The agents also seized records from the law of­fices of David T. Shulick, pres­i­dent of Delaware Val­ley High School, a for-profit com­pany that runs al­ter­na­tive schools for “at risk youth.” The younger Mr. Fat­tah’s firm does work for the com­pany.

In an emailed state­ment, Mr. Shulick said he and the school “have noth­ing to hide” and have “fully co­op­er­ated” in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. He said FBI and IRS agents were given doc­u­ments “that were within Chaka Fat­tah Jr.’s of­fice.” The in­ves­ti­ga­tors also took a com­puter from the younger Mr. Fat­tah’s of­fice, ac­cord­ing to Jeff Jube­lirer, a spokesman for Mr. Shulick.

The younger Mr. Fat­tah worked out of Mr. Shulick’s law of­fices when he was do­ing busi­ness de­vel­op­ment for the high school, ty­ing to re­cruit lo­cal school dis­tricts to agree to pay to send their at-risk stu­dents to the al­ter­na­tive school, Mr. Jube­lirer said.

Mr. Shulick, who says he has “both a per­sonal and pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ship” with the con­gress­man’s son, was told by fed­eral agents that nei­ther he, the school nor his law firm were tar­gets of the fed­eral probe, Mr. Jube­lirer said.

A spokesman for the FBI did not re­turn re­quests for com­ment and a spokes­woman for the U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice in Philadel­phia said “we don’t con­firm or deny in­ves­ti­ga­tions.” IRS spokes­woman Shauna Frye said only that IRS crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tors were at the Res­i­dences at the Ritz-carl­ton on Wed­nes­day on of­fi­cial busi­ness.

It was un­clear Wed­nes­day what in­ter­est the FBI and IRS has in 259 Strate­gies, which de­scribes it­self as a full ser­vice man­age­ment con­sult­ing firm serv­ing clients in Philadel­phia, the Dis­trict and New York. The firm of­fers project man­age­ment, com­mu­nity re­la­tions, tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance and op­er­a­tional sup­port to a va­ri­ety of clients.

The Philadel­phia In­quirer, which first re­ported the raid, said fed­eral au­thor­i­ties are try­ing to de­ter­mine why 259 Strate­gies was paid $450,000 by Delaware Val­ley High School, which has re­ceived mil­lions in con­tracts from the Philadel­phia School Dis­trict.

Mr. Shulick has ties to politi­cians from both par­ties. He and his wife, Cherie, have do­nated $68,240 to fed­eral can­di­dates and cam­paigns since 2007 in­clud­ing $13,900 to the el­der Chaka Fat­tah and his po­lit­i­cal com­mit­tees.

“Con­gress­men Fat­tah has been a big sup­porter [of the school],” said Mr. Jube­lirer, adding that the con­gress­man had been “help­ful writ­ing ref­er­ence let­ters to school dis­tricts” that were con­sid­er­ing con­tract­ing with Delaware Val­ley High School. He said that re­la­tion­ship pre­dates the younger Mr. Fat­tah’s ties to the school.

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