Archive from August 5th 2012: TBI Semarang’s Ghosts

Even in a language school known for its atrocious management, the story of TBI Semarang is well below average. And, as always, the usual suspects are involved.  We used to think they were incompetent; now we know that they simply have no standards or integrity in business.

When TBI Semarang opened the TBI Franchise Manager, Retty, recommended Helmy to the owner, without disclosing that he was her relative. Ashley Platts later told Luke that they were related, which means that he also knew and did not warn the franchise owner of this conflict of interest. We have found that with the TBI Mafia, of which Mariam is the centre, loyalty to the mafia trumps any ethical or professional standards every time.

One of our sources says that Helmy spent hours every day reading newspapers in public areas, visibly doing very little work at all. After a few days one of the student assistants asked him why he wasn’t doing any work and he replied, “I’m the School Manager. I don’t have to do anything!” Having worked with him at Kelapa Gading later, I can easily believe that he was that arrogant and lazy.

What Helmy did do was sexually harass all of his female co-workers. After a few months in the job, all five women in the office issued a group complaint that he was making unwanted sexual advances and comments. (This behaviour also continued at Kelapa Gading in a somewhat diluted form. He ended up having a romantic relationship with one of the students there.) While the complaints were investigated, Helmy was told not to come into the office for some weeks. Head Office was aware of these complaints and indeed investigated them, but Retty later recommended Helmy to Pauwsan, the owner of TBI Kelapa Gading and did not reveal the sexual misconduct allegations. Ashley was aware of these but also did not tell the owners or staff at Kelapa Gading that Helmy had been the subject of multiple sexual misconduct allegations at his last school. Once again, he serves the TBI Mafia and endangers the students and staff of TBI with his lack of morality.

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TBI Semarang- where TBI ghosts and skeletons lurked

As a manager, Helmy simply had no idea what he was doing. One of his promotions involved allowing students to study with a Native Speaker for Rp 1.000. Yes, seribu. So seven students were studying for 5 months for the cost of a can of Coke. It was commercial lunacy and even years later TBI staff used to smirk and joke about Helmy’s study for one thousand rupiah fiasco, which resulted in appalling commercial losses.

Helmy was also allegedly a thief, who embezzled most of the Rp 75.000.000 marketing budget. He was eventually caught and this was the final straw. The franchise owners refused to have anything more to do with Retty’s relative. But as usual with the TBI Mafia, failure is not a reason for dismissal if you have the right connections.

In brief, we allege that Ashley Platts showed bad faith by not disclosing crucial information to franchise owners and even agreed to let an alleged sexual offender and thief become a Manager of another TBI franchise school. This is not management, it is collusion in the attempt to deceive TBI staff and owners. It shows a complete lack of moral and professional integrity.

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