CONNECTICUT, USA — Editor's Note: Above video originally aired May 4, 2023.
Attorney General William Tong is seeking a second court order forcing Stone Academy to comply with his investigation after the school's abrupt closure.
Last month, Tong sought a court order to force compliance from Stone Academy owner Joseph Bierbaum and trustee Richard Scheinberg. That order is pending before Hartford Superior Court.
The investigation is into potential violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act after Stone Academy shut its doors without warning on February 15.
The next day, Tong announced his office was going to investigate what happened.
On February 23, Tong sent a civil investigative demand to Stone Academy. He demanded that the school provide detailed information and records regarding the education provided and the tuition collected from each student. He's also investigating the school's marketing practices, faculty qualifications, revenues, and accreditation materials.
Tong also demanded information on how the school intended to reimburse students for tuition and costs and how it plans to help students continue their education.
He also wanted to know how Stone Academy intended to inform students of their rights and options following the closure.
According to Tong, Stone Academy has partially complied with the civil investigative demand but "remains deficient" in several vital areas, including not providing responsive materials from online servers and devices, failing to identify the search terms used to gather responsive documents, and failing to produce minutes for regular meetings on issues regarding the school's operations.
Tong said he looked to get compliance from the school without resorting to a court order and that in April, he sent a letter to the school's attorneys, identifying various deficiencies and demanding a complete response.
“Full compliance with a state investigation is not optional. Stone cannot pick and choose which records to turn over, or where to search. We’re done waiting—we’re seeking a court order today to force Stone to follow the law,” said Attorney General Tong. “Stone took millions in tuition from students who poured countless hours away from their families and jobs to become nurses. We are putting everything we’ve got into this investigation, and will not hesitate to throw the book at any and every one responsible for this tragedy.”
Tong is not the only party going after the school.
A group of former students is now also taking legal action against Stone Academy. The group filed a class action lawsuit against the school, alleging that Stone Academy portrayed itself as a reputable school and never delivered.
Read more about that lawsuit here.
Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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