Two members of the Sage Hill School Board among those charged with corruption in the college admissions scandal


Between October 2012 and April 2013, Doug Hodge, then CEO of PIMCO, an international investment management group based in Newport Beach, paid at least $ 300,000 to a private football club controlled by coaches of the United States. USC, a profit as part of a program to obtain the admission of USC for his daughter on the basis of a false sports resume, according to a deed. federal accusation.

The girl, played by USC coaches and one of the leading administrators of the sports department, co-captain of Japan's national team, was admitted to the university. She did not play football for the Trojans.

A month before her daughter took her first class at USC, Hodge sent an e-mail to William Rick Singer, founder and operator of Edge College & Career Network, a for-profit company, and The Key Worldwide Foundation, based in Newport Beach 501 (c) (3) tax exempt, nonprofit.

"You have to start a discussion about the next one," wrote Hodge.

Hodge, who has spent at least $ 625,000 from Singer-related entities in exchange for the admission of her two children to the USC on the basis of their athletic credentials, is the only one in the world. one of two members of the board of directors of Sage Hill School charged with bribery this week as part of a $ 65 million federal racketeering case in which celebrities and wealthy paid for the admission of their children in elite universities based on falsified entry test scores and sports references.

Another board member, Michelle Merage-Janavs, has also been indicted, placing Sage Hill, Newport Coast's exclusive preparatory school, at the heart of what the US lawyer has called "the biggest scandal." on admissions to colleges in the history of the Department of Justice ".

Since the announcement of Tuesday morning indictments in Boston, Sage Hill has removed from its website all mentions of its board of directors and Gordon McNeill, the president of the school, does not have any information. has not responded to requests for multiple interviews. Several attempts to reach Hodge and Merage-Janav were unsuccessful.

Sage Hill was founded in 2000 and has just over 500 registrations. The annual registration costs $ 40,680. The school reported revenues of $ 25.1 million in 2017 and $ 31.8 million in 2016, according to documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service. The school posts its assets at $ 110 million. The MMJ Merage-Janavs Foundation, 501 (c) (3), tax-exempt and tax-exempt, made a $ 100,000 contribution to Sage Hill in 2016 and $ 82,500 in 2014, according to documents of the IRS.

USC, like the other seven schools cited in the federal indictment, offers preferential admission to students recruited and identified by college coaches as college-level athletes but who would otherwise not be admitted into the university. 39 establishment according to their academic qualifications.

A federal indictment also indicates that Hodge conspired with Singer to bring an eldest daughter to Georgetown in 2008 with a claim for victory at several US Tennis Association events. The girl had never played in a USTA event. The girl was admitted on the recommendation of Georgetown tennis coach Gordie Ernst. The girl did not play tennis in Georgetown.

Ernst was also named in Tuesday's indictment, claiming he had received $ 2.7 million in bribes from Key Worldwide for making admission easier. of students as recruited athletes, regardless of their athletic abilities. "Ernst" has nominated at least 12 candidates as recruits for Georgetown. the tennis team, including some people who have not played tennis competitively, thus facilitating their admission to Georgetown ", according to the indictment.

The indictment also states that Hodge also conspired with Singer to bring another child to Loyola Marymount.

Merage-Janavs, a Newport Coast resident and former leader of a family-owned food manufacturing company, used bribes to fund a project that involved both the review of College entry of his daughter and his recruitment to the USC as an alleged candidate for beach volleyball, according to the indictment.

Chef America Inc., the family-owned company Merage, created the Hot Pockets microwavable snack and was sold to Nestle for $ 2.6 billion. The Irvine Jewish Merage Community Center owes its name to the family. The UC Irvine School of Business owes its name to the co-founder of Chef America, Paul Merage, Michelle's father.

In October 2017, Mark Riddell, Director of IMG Academy Middle School Entrance Exam Preparation, traveled from Tampa to West Hollywood to oversee an ACT test passed by Merage's daughter. Janavs. The test was also administered by Igor Dvorskiy, director of the West Hollywood College Prepatory School.

On October 29, 2017, Singer asked Key West Foundation, a non-profit organization, to send a $ 50,000 bill to Merage-Janavs. At about the same time, the Key West Foundation was donating $ 18,000 to Riddell and $ 13,000 to Dvorskiy for helping "Janavs' daughter and another student who was cheating ACT", according to the indictment. On November 30, Merage-Janavs sent a $ 50,000 check from her non-profit foundation to the Key West Foundation.

The falsified result of the ACT test was part of an application submitted by the daughter of Merage-Janavs, which also included a curriculum vitae detailing her success as a beach volleyball player, even if she did not practice the sport. .

Singer called Merage-Janavs on October 1, 2018 to tell him that Donna Heinel, Deputy Director of Sports for the USC, was going to present Merage-Janavs daughter's request to Athletics Admissions Subcommittee for Athletics. 39; USC.

"Agreed, and when she will have her last letter, which will arrive around March 25, you will send the rest of the money. So I just want to …, "Singer said during the phone call recorded by federal investigators.

"For USC or for you?" Said Merage-Janavs.

"To our foundation," said Singer.

"Yeah, so the first $ 50,000 goes to USC?" Pursued Merage-Janavs.

"Okay, okay," said Singer.

"Agreement," says Merage-Janavs.

Merage-Janavs sent Heinel a check to the USC Athletics Fund.

Heinel, who was also indicted this week, was fired Tuesday by the university.

Merage-Janavs paid $ 50,000 to fund a similar project for a second girl.