Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Inflating dough

(originally published September 28, 2009)

You know, I always liked those classes where the teacher would put into place a real-world scenario for students to learn and apply knowledge...you know, like Lemonade Stand. Real world application can be both fun and educational.

I was not as successful when in Economics we pretended to buy guns and butter, or in American History when Mr. Bakun had us pretend to buy stocks and bonds -- I remember failing both exercises. But that was just me -- I'm simply awful at mathematics. My son recently told me that when he participated in the stocks and bonds exercise, he topped his class and earned $100,000.

That's m'boy.

I've no doubt that many students have participated in similar exercises for study as an example of practical application. Perhaps it was such a study that our School District #11 accounting wizards took part during their school days...I surmise this, because teachers often come up with funny names for the "store": Betty's Better Butter (BBB), or Stick-Em-Up Armory.

This is the kind of nerd that I am -- I think about things, and then think some more. There is a pizza company named "Inflated Dough", and my busybody mind was inspired to look up "the study of Pizza Science." I've always merely eaten pizza, so I was pretty impressed by what my research returned.

Pizza is a subject of study -- in physics (i.e., when the pizza maker tosses up the spinning dough), in chemistry (in testing baking optimization and fermentation), in "management science" (sounds like fancy talk), in economics, and in accounting.

Did you know, for instance, that in laboratory tests, "the W factor is the measure of the amount of force that it takes to inflate a bubble of dough before it ruptures." Indeed, pizza dough actually should not inflate at all; it must be "docked", or pricked with a fork -- precisely to prevent it from rising.

Which leads me to believe that in Jan Tanner's case, she likely studied the pizza business as part of an accounting course; I know, I'm speculating here, but perhaps one of her teachers taught a class entitled "Real World Accounting" -- the students pretended to open up a business, and name their company, and then manage the general ledger for that fictional establishment. Perhaps such an exercise was what inspired her to make a career out of accounting, and further, handle the accounting for her family's pizza business.

Enough speculating: the fact is that Carl Tanner -- who has been married to Jan for a quarter of a century -- owns two Domino's pizza franchises, named Cheezar's and Inflated Dough. In light of the background information I provided above, perhaps the "W factor" in this instance stands for wink -- since the clever name for this enterprise probably refers more to money than to product.

Indeed it is aptly named: Jan, who lists herself as the secretary/treasurer of the franchises, certainly must be aware that an income of approximately $160,000 was received courtesy of Colorado Springs School District #11 over the 2008-2009 school year alone. That year is the only one the District has published online (AP Payments FY 08-09)...but I've little doubt that a review of previous years' account registers would reveal similar similar such income -- after all, Jan was specially appointed treasurer to the District Board of Educators in 2005 (more on that in an upcoming post). Has this arrangement been in place for all that time? If so...does this mean that the family business for which Jan Tanner is the registered treasurer received half a million dollars from the District over the past five years?!?

From what I understand, questions have been raised about the pizza before -- and Jan answered that her husband's enterprise had kindly "donated" pizza to the schools. Which leads me to believe that as treasurer for the "family business", Jan has been writing off these pizza donations as tax deductibles (dip). But then, Jan also would have known that District #11 certainly paid for these pizzas as well (double dip); and from what my kids have explained, it's also possible that students have additionally paid in cash for this pizza at a lunchroom kiosk (triple dip). Who knows -- maybe there's even free- and reduced-lunch monies coming into the coffers somehow (quadruple dip)...

In order for this all to have been on the up and up, Board policy mandates full disclosure -- meaning that Jan would have had to raise the issue, the Board would have had to make it an action item and voted upon it, and the entire matter would have had to been reflected in official meeting minutes. Anything short of this constitutes a conflict of interest, and a serious breach of ethics.

But I haven't been able to locate anything of the like. Which leads me to ponder: Did Jan make full disclosure, and if so, why can't it be found in meeting minutes? Are there other Board members who are aware of the details of this arrangement, and if so, who are they...and why have they allowed such an important detail to go unnoticed?

This is what I know beyond the shadow of a doubt: Glenn Gustafson (District 11 Chief Financial Officer) and John Elliott (recently retired from his post as Manager of Procurement and Contracting) would have known most definitely about this arrangement -- an indication of their complicit involvement.

Personally, I was staggered when I made the Cheezar's connection and began to ruminate upon the implications. What does this all mean? Could it be that the people we have entrusted with the education of our children have conspired to siphon off public funds for their own private gain?

I believe this is simply the tip of an ugly iceberg. But if the conclusions I've reached regarding Jan are true...then at least one of the elementary schools that were recently closed due to budget constraints could have remained open if Jan had "donated" this revenue back to the District.

I am so very bad at math -- and much more likely to crunch on pizzas than numbers -- but even I have to say, "Mama Mia, that's a lotta pizza."


  1. D11 doesn't outsource pizza anymore.

  2. Hopefully, that's the case - I'd like to see the RFP that went out before I start believing it, though. If Jan's no-bid pizza contract really has come to an end, then it's a fairly recent and long overdue change to a decade-long status quo.

    One thing remains the same: jan Tanner failed to disclose her business relationship with School District 11; at no time - not during her special appointment to the board, not during the ugly "Chaos Board" recall election, not during any of the subsequent elections - did she ever come clean about her pizza shenanigans.

    Jan quietly pocketed a cool million over a ten-year time period. Conflict of interest? At the very least, the *appearance* of a conflict - it sure is in my book, anyway. When you factor in the fact that Jan served as Treasurer for the bulk of her time on the Board, the steps that were taken to blur the business dealings, and the stories that were told after I first publicized my "Inflated Dough" discoveries, you get something that smells foul.

    Jan is SO rich; between her pizza money and the collusion of her D11 friends in finance, this matter was swept under the rug. Not only did Jan brazenly flout our state's campaign finance laws, but she was a key player in the formation of Palmer High School's Gay/Straight Alliance; she was a party to a lawsuit against the Colorado Department of Education concerning the voucher program; and she voted to close all of those elementary schools.

    Not only that, but she's an OBAMA PROGRESSIVE (read: SOCIALIST) who also serves on the CASB board. She's heavily influenced by the teachers' union and the PTA, but be not mistaken - Jan's no follower; she *issues* others their marching orders.

    You can read all about Jan on my website; just search for her name. Then you might also feel as queasy as I about the Noid that is Jan Tanner. Surely, it's vomitous to think of Jan scooting about town to her Restorative Justice meetings in her environmentaly-friendly electric Prius - yeah, Jan...you're a real do-gooder.

    I have little doubt that Jan will manage to retain her seat on the board...because the voting public does not take the time to research the candidates before them, and because she's rich enough to buy the election.

    Here's a bumper sticker slogan for her, tho, for what it's worth (a million and counting).


  3. and yet Inflated Dough and Cheezars still obtain business - paid weekly by D11