In this part we connect some dots between these TBI figures and see what it reveals about the way the TBI Mafia operates.
Who was Helmy V******?
Helmy V. was the second school manager of TBI Kelapa Gading.
What was his nationality?
He was Indonesian. He came from Makassar, the largest city in Eastern Indonesia.
Some people close to Luke Preece and Matthew France have denied that Ashley Platts has devised a scheme to replace all expat school managers besides Ashley and Luke. What do you say to that?
Luke thinks other people are blind and stupid. When I joined TBI in 2008 the three biggest schools- Kuningan, Dago and Jawa- all had expat managers. Now none of them do. What we are describing is clear as daylight.
Was Helmy’s appointment part of the Indonesianization of management policy?
It certainly was. At the time I was more focused on the personal injustice I had suffered at the hands of BF. We had refused to let me take the holidays owed in my contract. But I learned later from Pauwsan Sutanto that Retty had actively lobbied for BF to be replaced with an Indonesian. What she didn’t tell him is that Helmy was actually Retty’s relative! He doesn’t show anger but after he found out, Pauwsan didn’t talk to Head Office again for 18 months.He gave them the silent treatment.
When you speak of a ‘TBI Mafia’ what do you mean?
I don’t mean it in the Godfather sense exactly, though these people have broken numerous laws. What I mean is the secondary sense of the word ‘mafia’: a closed group of people in a particular field, having a controlling influence through illict means. They collude with each other to deceive and cheat other people. Helmy’s appointment is a prime example of TBI Mafia tactics. Not only did they withhold crucial information from a business partner- that Helmy was a relative of the Head of Franchise- but it was in fact much worse than that. Helmy had been accused of stealing Rp75.000.000 from the marketing budget at TBI Semarang just months before. So TBI recommended a suspected thief as school manager to one of their own franchisees and withheld the vital information that he was a relative of the Head of Franchise. This is the kind of grossly unethical conduct which has caused me to dub them ‘The TBI Mafia’.
Who would have known about this conflict of interest besides Retty?
Mariam would have known the reasons why Helmy was removed from TBI Semarang. She was Retty’s supervisor. Ning Anhar has a close relationshisp with the franchise owners, so she would have known that one of her busienss partners had been robbed. Ashley deliberately misled people about Helmy. He told Chris Needham (who told Cam) that Helmy was a good businessman and the problems at Semarang had merely been a clash of personalities. This was a complete and total distortion of what had really gone on. So in my opinion Retty, Mariam, Ning and Ashley were all complicit in the cover-up about Helmy and TBI Semarang. This is what I mean by the phrase ‘The TBI Mafia’: they protect their own at the expense of everyone else and collude in many wicked schemes.
How did you find out the real reasons why Helmy had been fired from TBI Semarang?
To quote Launcelot from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice: Truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long……at the length, the truth will out. In the end the truth about Helmy was outed. You see the Actel, an expat, was one of TBI’s many vocal detractors. He was a friend of one of the teachers at my school and I met him at a TBI conference a couple of times. We kept comparing notes about Helmy- who was the most ridiculously bad school manager you can ever imagine- and we eventually learned his whole sorry history of theft and sexual misconduct.
What did Pauwsan Sutanto think of Helmy?
Helmy stole from Pauwsan Sutanto and he fired him after Ramadan 2009. As a rich Chinese Indonesian, he didn’t want to provoke trouble by firing a Muslim close to or during the Holy Month. He was so angry about what had happened that he refused to speak to Retty for 18 months. I told him, “You must know that Ashley and Mariam knew about this too. Mariam is Retty’s boss. They are just as blameworthy as Retty.” But he wanted to pin it all on Retty. I suppose he was reluctant to see that everyone at Head Office was just as guilty. Personally, I think Pauwsan is a fool to listen to Ashley and Mariam after what they pulled with Helmy, but he still listens to the people who sent him a known thief to run his school.