Logos founder in violation of ethics laws

Medford, Ore. — Last October, NBC5 News was the first to tell you about an ethics complaint filed by the Medford School District regarding Joseph Vondoloski who is the former executive director of Logos Public Charter School.

On Friday, the Oregon Government Ethics Commission reviewed the investigation and ruled on the matter.

According to the ethics commission, Joseph Vondoloski violated state ethics laws 22 times.

The complaint against him was filed by the Medford School District after he left Logos and started a private company that was then hired by Logos.

If you’re wondering why the school district cares how Logos spends it’s money, it’s because the district provides the charter school with some of its funding.

It’s the school district’s responsibility to make sure that tax payer money is spent as it’s intended, and if the charter school complies with state law.

The investigation into Joseph Vondoloski is 37 pages.

Vondoloski is the co-founder and former head of Logos Public Charter School.

Medford School District raised concerns last year after his for-profit professional employment organization – known as Western Collegiate Consulting – was hired by Logos to handle things like teacher benefits, salary and retirement.

When reached by phone on Wednesday, Vondoloski declined to comment, but in a statement released last fall, he said “It is discouraging, yet not surprising, that the 549c school district refuses to allow, let alone support, proven educational innovation in their district. The public sees this for what it really is, I am confident that any and all investigations will prove it as well.”

After looking over the investigation, the Oregon Government Ethics Commission voted unanimously on Friday Vondoloski was in violation of 22 state ethics laws.

“The commission voted to find Mr. Vondoloski in 11 violations of using your official position for financial gain, and 11 violations for not declaring conflicts of interest,” Ethics Commission Executive Director Ron Bersin said.

In particular, the investigation reports Vondoloski was able to use his knowledge of the financial situation at Logos to benefit his business.

Furthermore, the investigation states he did not disclose a conflict of interest to his appointing authority when submitting a bid to contract his business with Logos.

“The circumstances are unique, but the violations are ones that the commission sees on a pretty routine basis,” Bersin said.

The commission hasn’t determined any penalties yet but Vondoloski could be fined up to $5,000 dollars per violation.

Before penalties become official, Vondoloski has the opportunity to appeal the decision to an administrative law judge.

“The commission works to settle a lot of its cases without going through that appeal process and Mr. Vondoloski is no different than that so I’m sure my staff is going to be talking to him about trying to settle this case, but we have not started those negotiations,” Bersin said.

If Vondoloski does appeal, there would be a hearing where he and the commission explain both sides, and a preliminary decision is made by a judge.

Then if Vondoloski is in disagreement with the judge, he would have the ability to go to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and after that, potentially the supreme court.

Note: Since the complaint was filed, Logos Public Charter School has ended its contract with Vondoloski’s consulting company.

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