Few things remain from the dramatic crash of Prime Prep Academy, aside from hard feelings, a pair of lawsuits, at least one criminal investigation and $124,682 in the bank.
A Dallas County court settlement has cleared some of that backlog from the failed charter school co-founded by NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. Former school officials have agreed to empty two remaining bank accounts and pay its ex-employees, according to a deal finalized this month.
The school closed with less than an hour’s notice in January 2015 after management determined it was financially insolvent. Employees sued just weeks later, but it has taken more than two years to reach this agreement.
“I am pleased that it has settled and that those fine educators are getting relief,” said attorney T. Christopher Lewis, who was Prime Prep’s board president. “I’m happy we were able to find a way to get them taken care of.”
Lewis, who had earlier described the school’s finances as “utter chaos,” said he couldn’t talk further about the confidential settlement. The deal still needs a judge’s signature before money can be withdrawn from the bank.
Prime Prep received national attention thanks to Sanders’ involvement and his promotion of the school on his cable reality show Deion’s Family Playbook. But it was also mired in crisis from Day One and failed to live up to academic promises.
Six former employees sued ex-Prime Prep Superintendent Ron Price, former human resources director Reginald Calhoun, the Prime Prep board and the board of Uplift Fort Worth, the school’s parent nonprofit. The lawsuit — accusing defendants of fraud, negligence and violation of the Texas Payday Act — initially said the plaintiffs were seeking between $200,000 and $1 million.
The former Prime Prep employees who filed the lawsuit were JoAnn George, Ebony Phinisee, Cleveland Starr, La-Shonda A. Davis, Venora Bennett and Kendron Roberts.
Their attorney, Lantis Roberts, did not return phone calls. Rose Romero, who was representing Calhoun, also did not respond to an interview request.
Price, a former Dallas ISD board member, did not return phone calls. He was representing himself.
Source: Dallas Morning News | Jeff Mosier