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Closed Charter School Officials Paid Themselves Through Public Contracts
Columbus – The price tag for self-dealing by six officials – three of whom have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing – is nearly $500,000, according to an audit of the now closed Lion of Judah Academy (Cuyahoga County). The audit was released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“I am exasperated with the latest list of failed charter school officials that were self-dealing and racking up losses for the taxpayers and children of Ohio,” Auditor Yost said. “I’m looking forward to their day in court when justice will be done.”
The audit identified three instances where the academy granted public contracts to organizations owned or operated by its school officials. In 2011, the academy made payments to Latter Enterprise, Inc. totaling $469,621, the Church of the Lion of Judah totaling $5,000, and Promyse, Inc. totaling $2,500.
Findings for recovery in the full amounts have been issued jointly and severally against:
- Romey Coles, Executive Director of the academy, incorporator of Latter Enterprise, Inc. and owner of the Church of the Lion of Judah.
- Rosina Coles, board president of the academy and incorporator of Latter Enterprise, Inc.
- Sheryse Henderson, business manager for the academy, incorporator of Latter Enterprise, Inc. and ownder of Promyse, Inc.
- Jon Henderson, board member of the academy, trusee for the Church of the Lion of Judah and owner of Promyse, Inc.
- Trilana Bowling, board member of the academy and trusee for the Church of the Lion of Judah.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,800 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.