But Thimmig was worried. He wrote a letter to the company's board warning that although they were turning a profit, they were understaffed and financially struggling. Rodberg never contributed the capital he had promised, Thimmig alleged in court.

Thimmig thought investors who could provide the needed cash infusion were scared off by the Wade lawsuit. "Potential investors did not want to get involved with a company where the principals were suing the other business partners," Thimmig alleged. (Thimmig declined to comment for this article.) He wanted Wooley-Brown, Hollander, and Rodberg to sell their shares of the company to a New York-based private equity firm.

Rodberg and Hollander balked. They accused Thimmig in court documents of "misusing federal and state grant funds," mismanaging the budget, asking Mavericks employees to leave their jobs for other work, and hiring a company that he "owned or had an interest in" to clean the schools. They tried to kick him off the board.

Developer Mark Rodberg wanted Dwyane Wade's name on his restaurants and schools. To read more on the topic of Mavericks and South Florida education, click  here.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
Developer Mark Rodberg wanted Dwyane Wade's name on his restaurants and schools. To read more on the topic of Mavericks and South Florida education, click here.
Former CEO Mark Thimmig is in a legal battle with Mavericks' other founders.
PR NEWSWIRE/Newscom
Former CEO Mark Thimmig is in a legal battle with Mavericks' other founders.

In December 2009, Thimmig resigned as CEO. Then he sued Mavericks for back salary and money he said he lent the company — a total of at least $300,000. He also aired the company's dirty laundry in public court documents. Just two years after its founding, the hope factory was floundering.


Frank Biden sits in a windowless office at the Mavericks High in Palm Springs, leaning over the desk to make his point. It's a sparse, black desk with just a computer on it — no paper, no clutter. The freshly painted blue walls are bare. This isn't Biden's office, just a spare room the school's staff stuck him in to talk to a reporter. Biden, wearing a red tie and dark suit, says it's a "leap of faith" for him to grant New Times an interview, because he doesn't want to embarrass his brother Joe. As he talks, you can still hear the trace of a lisp, the shadow of his childhood stutter.

"Everything I do... I've got to know that it could appear on the front page of the New York Times," Frank says. "Do my best never to do anything to besmirch [Joe's] reputation."

Frank has reason to worry. After serving as a legislative director in the Clinton administration, he worked with Hand in Hand Ministries, which provides scholarships to poor children in Nicaragua. There, he says, he contracted a nasty bacterial infection and came to South Florida to convalesce.

By 2003, however, there were signs of another illness. Around 8:45 p.m. on August 20, 2003, a Broward sheriff's deputy spotted Biden's '88 Chrysler making a wide left turn in Fort Lauderdale. Another driver said Biden had tapped his bumper at a stop light. The cop pulled the Chrysler over to investigate.

Biden's eyes were red, his speech slurred, and he reeked of alcohol. He could not tell the police officer "where he was or where he came from." An open, mostly-empty bottle of Popov sat in his car. Biden lost his balance trying to touch his finger to his nose. A computer check revealed his license had already been suspended four times.

The cop booked him, and Biden pleaded no contest to DUI and driving with a suspended license. He was sentenced to six months of probation, along with six more months of a suspended license. But in October 2003, before the drunk-driving case made it to court, Biden was arrested again, for petty theft.

Employees at a Pompano Beach Blockbuster called the cops when Biden started arguing with them. A sheriff's officer arrived to find Biden trying to leave the store with two DVDs stuffed down his pants. Court records show he failed to appear for a hearing in that case, but documents were not available about the outcome.

A year later, in November 2004, Biden was arrested for a third time in Juno Beach. He pleaded no contest to driving with a suspended license. Rather than spend 30 days in jail, the judge allowed Biden to check into The Watershed rehab center in Delray Beach, where he stayed for three months in 2005.

Today, Biden says he's recovering from his addiction and has been "sober for a long time." "I was an alcoholic. I'm a sober person. I'm very proud of that fact."

By the fall of 2009, Biden was back on his feet, seeking investors for a country club development in Costa Rica that promises to include more than 1,200 homes. Press releases for the project call Biden the "co-developer" and show him smiling beside golf legend Jack Nicklaus, whose name will be on the golf course. Biden says he and his partners own the land, but are still seeking investors.

Meanwhile, back home in South Florida, Biden says he got involved with Mavericks after a simple chance meeting. He says he happened to meet Mark Rodberg in a coffee shop, and the developer told him about Mavericks.

At first blush, Rodberg's litigation record might give a potential business partner pause. He has had 49 civil cases filed against him in Palm Beach Circuit Civil Court in the past two decades. Most of the cases have been resolved, but one pending case, filed in June, alleges he stopped payment on a $4,000 rent check. (Rodberg could not be reached for comment. His only listed phone number is disconnected. When New Times asked Biden about speaking to Rodberg, he said questions should be directed to Hollander instead.)

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22 comments
A former mavericks parent
A former mavericks parent

Mavericks as a whole is a joke Kids cheating their way to a graduation Administration doing nothing but lining their pockets with illegal money for students they claim on their system who have never attended . Grades are fake and mean nothing .. Computers instead of textbooks and teachers and they wonder why they have 7% passing on the reading fcat after te state lowered its standard and how can you even lump the ones that passed it while in jail. Somebody needs to shut them down... Parents don't send your kids there... Job seekers keep moving trust me you don't want to work for such a lousy company trying to pass itself off as a school

Itzli
Itzli

Yet the school boards in Florida continue to approve new charter schools...hmmmm...something fishy is going on....how come the Department of Education allows this to happen? There is a lot of money going under the table for school board members and other politicians who are involved with the approval of charter schools....I smell CORRUPTION!!! It's the only explanation...there should be more "Watergate" uncoverings...

Comment
Comment

How can u teach kids using a program on a computer and kids take the test and write the wrong answer in a paper then take test again and they put different answer until they go it right teachers begs students to come to classroom cos kids don't hv too as long as they work on the computer how can a software teach kids teacher at maverick they do secretary work answer phone and teach about 8 kids a day that's all they do

Guest
Guest

InConclusion2012, is probably someone at mavericks. Simply put...why would anyone ever take their children to a non-credited school? ...Do a background check before posting. The Rodbergs are in it for the money. They have so much Litigation's and people suing them in the state of Florida, no one would ever do business with them...these people are hoodlums.  Forget about what they are trying to do...and FYI.. the SAT scores for  Miami Dade, are up this year, substantially. Look it up....

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jgrim
jgrim

Hey, InConclusion- What's your name and who do you work for? Are you a real live 1%er or a PR persona defending private profit off of the backs of poor kids? Ever worked in a classroom with at-risk kids? I have for 23 years.

It's NOT the school system that has failed these kids- it's your sociopathic 1%ers' economic system that has left them and their families in deep debt and poverty with low wage jobs and no support services.

InConclusion2012
InConclusion2012

Winston Churchill said: To build may have to be a slowand laborious task of Years. to destroy can be the thoughtless act of a singleday...

 

Lisa Rab and her cohorts have been hammering away at theMavericks organization for over a month now, it has brought me to threeconclusions.

 

(1). Thank God the people at Mavericks are providing anopportunity for 4000 at risk teenagers to Graduate High School. I personallydon't know of any other organizations offering tuition free education to thissegment of students.

 

(2). If the Public Education System was doing the jobthat they receive over $12,000 per student of tax payer money as opposed to$6,000 the charter schools receive. Mavericks would not have any studentsenrolling.

 

(3) I have not read any suggestions or alternativesolutions by Lisa Rab for parents of students that are not succeeding in thepublic high schools they are assigned to base on the boundries of where theylive. 

 

 

Itzli
Itzli

You obviously work for Mavericks and are getting part of the big $$$ that company is stealing from the tax payers. As a teacher who has worked in charter schools and schools that utilize the computer system called Plato, I can tell you that students do not learn anything, and that those schools are just a money-making business,  doing a disservice to the students. These schools are part of the master plan of keeping people uneducated to create an ignorant yet controllable nation. 

Joe
Joe

In the article, it says "Mavericks officials say Fort Lauderdale's debt was temporary, because the school's original enrollment was low. Hollander wrote a check to cover the budget hole, and the school is "now on its feet and very healthy,"  Funny thing about that.  The Fort Lauderdale school achieved full enrollment faster than any previous Maverick's High School.  While Mavericks promised they would advertise on the radio to encourage enrollment, the radio spots never happened.  And the school was trying to enrollment for two months before Mavericks bothered to add the school to their website.  The problems at Fort Lauderdale are not the fault of early poor enrollment.  They are entirely the fault of the money grabbing, don't give a lick about education, management in the Corporate Offices.  Gov'n Scott -- are you reading this article.  It is time to put strong controls on Charter Schools so that they quit taking tax payer money and giving nothing back to the public.  And Mavericks ... shut them down!

ForTheChildrenOfAmerica
ForTheChildrenOfAmerica

If you close Mavericks High, who will educate these children?  The school system has already failed them...

dip lomas94
dip lomas94

Great info man you have done a great job. You are really inspiring me. Keep up the good work.

Online Diploma

FQS9000
FQS9000

At the worst, a for profit school cares about keeping students and their parents happy.  This is in stark contrast to the teaching union weasels who only care about time off, benefits, pensions and making sure nobody ever, ever gets fired.  Just read their contracts.

Davetg
Davetg

So how many teachers do you actually know?? I would say none. I would also say that you've never had a job w/ a contract, or been a union member as well. That's a little sad actually. Working conditions are a concern, but in front of that is the concern we have for our students . . . Something that you know absolutely nothing about . . .

ForTheChildrenOfAmerica
ForTheChildrenOfAmerica

Its not the fault of teachers...  The system is BROKEN...  This competition from charter schools will cause everyone to rethink the plan.  Schools havent improved upon their models in a hundred years...  The current system is turning certain minorities into a permanent underclass...

FQS9000
FQS9000

At last count, my mother was a teacher, my wife is a teacher and I know three other local union twerps.  I've been in a union and they are merely extortion organizations.  No teacher in the last 50 years has had unsafe working conditions.  They merely want more money for less work and less responsibility.  Read any teacher's union contract.

The teacher's unions are run by scum.  Any teacher who doesn't like their job is entitled to find another job, but they should not have high pay or tenure for NOT teaching our children.

recentgraduate
recentgraduate

last time I checked, the starting salary for a teacher in Florida is $29K. all I remember is the caliber of the students in the teacher's college was the worst in my university. high pay for having a 4-year degree? sure doesn't look like it to me and it doesn't look like a desirable profession at that. welcome to the new normal, America. 

Jerry1932
Jerry1932

The article correctly points out why Florida is a ripe mark for these types of frauds.  You MUST send your kid to private school.  Most are very good, but this is total BS! Even the private schools here that charge almost $20,000 provide very little extras b/c they do not have to.  There is no competition.  I blame the Old F-er's who move here and the corrupt public officials.

SchoolDistrictFailsChildren
SchoolDistrictFailsChildren

Lisa, I would like to hear more about how the Palm Beach School District only graduates 22% of Black Males or Miami's 27%.  How long has this been going on? Why cant they reach these kids?  What happens to these kids?

KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII

Maybe it is more like the students fail the districts. Those that do not want to be taught and devalue the worth of an education will fail. They drag the system down to their level and defeat the educational process.

Lisa Rab
Lisa Rab

Good questions! I don't have any fast answers, but I will look into it.

SchoolDistrictFailsChildren
SchoolDistrictFailsChildren

If public education did its job, there would be no need for schools like mavericks.  Students need alternatives because the system is BROKEN.

Geraldo
Geraldo

Good reporting but there's an awful lot of self-promotion from New Times in an article about education and developers skating by on self-promotion alone.

 
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