In 2009, the year Joe Biden took office as vice president, a local business executive met the politician’s younger brother, Frank, at a Starbucks in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and later asked him to become the president and front man for a fledgling charter school venture.
Frank Biden, a longtime real estate developer in the state, accepted the offer, and over the years, he touted his famous last name and prominent connections in Washington to help land the company a series of charter contracts from local officials in Florida to open charter schools, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars over a five-year period from the company in the process.
Claims of mismanagement would ultimately bog down many of those schools, which focused on educating at-risk teens with troubled backgrounds. In at least two separate lawsuits, Mavericks schools faced allegations of inflating enrollment as part of a scheme to garner more government funding. The charters were eventually sold and the schools reorganized under new management.
A 2014 lawsuit filed by two Pinellas County school district executives – which named Frank Biden as a defendant – accused Mavericks of “falsely inflating the operating expenses associated with the operations of the charter schools” in an effort to “divert funds from the education of the students to the owners of [Mavericks]” – to the tune of $22 million. The lawsuit was ultimately dropped.
A person familiar with Frank Biden’s role at Mavericks told ABC News he was paid $70,000 per year over the course of five years. In 2017, EdisonLearning acquired Mavericks’ contracts to manage the charter schools for an undisclosed sum. At the time, Mavericks was operating six schools with nearly 2,500 students enrolled. EdisonLearning disbanded the schools’ boards of directors and dismissed management, but kept all six principals and many of the teachers.more » « less