Eddie Calderon-Melendez, Brooklyn Charter School Founder, Accused Of Tax Evasion, Charging European Vacation On School Credit Card

Unlike the Griswolds, Eddie Calderon-Melendez's European Vacation was paid for by taxpayers.
Unlike the Griswolds, Eddie Calderon-Melendez's European Vacation was paid for by taxpayers.

There appears to be a reason a Brooklyn charter school was so broke in 2009 that its teachers were forced to double as janitors: the school's founder was allegedly using the (publicly funded) school's credit card to go gallivanting across Europe -- amongst several other alleged acts of sleaze.

That founder, Eddie Calderon-Melendez, was hit today with an 11-count indictment alleging that he failed to pay more than $70,000 in taxes over six years after getting compensated $1.4 million to "manage" the school.

All of that compensation came either "directly or indirectly from taxpayer funded charter schools," according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Calderon-Melendez founded the Williamsburg Charter High School in 2003. In 2009, he opened two more publicly funded charter schools in the same neighborhood. He also created the Charter Management Network, which "managed" the schools for a hefty fee -- the money to pay the fee came from taxpayers and, naturally, Calderon-Melendez served as the Network's CEO, taking in a $500,000 salary in 2009 alone.

In addition to the high fees for very little "management" (click here to read a NY Post story from last year detailing the brand of "management" Calderon-Melendez provided the schools in exchange for his bloated salary), Schneiderman says Calderon-Melendez charged $1,800 on the school's credit card to fund a trip to Europe.

To cover up his despicable use of taxpayer coin, Schneiderman says Calderon-Melendez created and submitted false tax returns.

"While earning a six-figure salary funded largely by taxpayer dollars, the defendant robbed the state of New York of much-needed revenue when he failed to pay his taxes for six years in a row. He then compounded his crime by creating false evidence to throw investigators off his trail," Schneiderman says.

In all, Calderon-Melendez has been hit with 11 felonies: two counts of repeated failure to file personal income and earnings taxes; two counts of criminal tax fraud in the third degree; one count of criminal tax fraud in the fourth degree; four counts of tampering with physical evidence; one count of grand larceny in the fourth degree; and one count of falsifying business records in the first degree.

Attempts to reach Calderon-Melendez this afternoon were unsuccessful.

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