Former Clovis Unified School District superintendent and popular Fresno-area education consultant Terry Bradley was censured and fined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly sharing five school districts’ private information with an advisory company while it was negotiating for the districts’ contracts.
The SEC released the settlement, which was agreed to by Bradley with no admission or denial of guilt, on Monday.
Bradley, 72, was the Clovis Unified superintendent from 2002-09 and worked for the district for a total of 33 years. In all, he has nearly 50 years of experience working in or with central San Joaquin Valley school districts.
According to the order, Bradley’s company, School Business Consulting Inc., works with several school districts throughout Central California as an educational consultant. It assists districts with everything from hiring administrators to helping with budgets and financial matters. Bradley also helps districts find and interview municipal advisers, who help write bond measures.
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In September 2010, Bradley was hired by Keygent Inc., a municipal adviser. For nearly four years, Keygent used Bradley to contact various school districts that the advisory company believed were in need of refinancing. He was paid $2,500 per month.
The SEC found that Bradley helped Keygent secure contracts with five districts he also represented by giving Keygent important, confidential information, such as upcoming interview questions and what competing bidders were offering in terms of fees and services.
Keygent was told during the interviews not to contact any district personnel beyond the representatives conducting the interviews, and Bradley was not one of them.
Bradley told each district of his affiliation with Keygent, but each was not aware of the private interview and bid information shared by Bradley.
Bradley also allegedly failed to properly register his company as a municipal adviser.
The government found that these acts constituted violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Investment Company Act of 1940. The SEC noted in a news release that this was the first time it had enforced the municipal adviser antifraud provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act, which amended the Securities Exchange Act in 2010.
The settlement stipulates that School Business Consulting must pay a $30,000 fine. Bradley must also pay a $20,000 fine and is no longer allowed to act as a municipal adviser.
Keygent was fined $100,000 and censured. Its principals were fined $50,000.
Bradley founded School Business Consulting in 2010 after retiring from Clovis Unified. It is based in Fresno. Its office is inside Harris Construction Co.’s building. Harris has handled several major building projects for local districts.
Bradley declined to comment on the settlement, referring an interview inquiry to his lawyer, Bill Kimball. He provided this statement: “Mr. Bradley resolved this case on a neither admit nor deny basis, and we have no further comment.”
The names of the five districts involved in the cases were not released.
Fresno Unified spokesman Miguel Arias said that his district was not one of the five, though it has contracted with both Bradley and Keygent in the past. Bradley was last used as an adviser in mid-2011, he added.
District financial documents show that Keygent has served as a financial adviser for various bond-related dealings from at least 2010-15.
Clovis Unified revealed in 2009 that its multi-school educational center would be named after Bradley.
Spokeswoman Kelly Avants said the district has used School Business Consulting in the past – most recently in 2015. Keygent has acted as the district’s financial adviser on its 2012 bond series.
Although the district was working with Keygent and Bradley at the same time, Avants said it was never contacted by the SEC.
“In our experience, we have found both Keygent and Terry Bradley to be experts in the field of public school facilities funding,” she said. “Over time, they have made substantial contributions to the district’s ability to maintain an excellent credit rating and maximize the structure of our bond sales to save local taxpayers’ money and increase resources available for our school construction program.”