Charter school founder Kent Amos and his management company have agreed to pay $3 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged he used the company to divert taxpayer funds from the school for his personal gain.
A consent agreement was filed in court Friday by the District of Columbia, Amos, the Dorothy I. Height Community Academy Public Charter Schools, and the management company, of which Amos is president. According to the agreement — which is expected to become effective as soon as a judge signs it — the money will go to the school or to its “successors.”
Community Academy, established in 1998, is one of the oldest and largest charter schools in the city. Amos, a former corporate executive, founded the school with a mission of helping children and parents in poor neighborhoods.
Last summer, the D.C. attorney general alleged that millions of dollars had been diverted from the school for personal gain, contrary to the school’s nonprofit status. Amos and his attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.
Since 2004, the school paid more than $14 million to the company, according to court records. Management fees rose while costs declined, because the company employed fewer people and duties were shifting to school employees, records show.
Amos profited most in recent years, according to court documents. He received about $1.15 million in income in 2012 from the management company, according to federal tax records. In 2013, he received $1.38 million, including $103,000 paid to his wife, who was also listed as an employee.
In February, the D.C. Public Charter School Board voted unanimously to revoke the s chool’s charter effective July 1, citing a pattern of fiscal mismanagement. Last month, a Superior Court judge upheld that decision.
In a deal brokered by Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer C. Niles, the school’s campuses will be divided up and transferred to other entities starting next school year. One campus will be transferred to D.C. Public Schools, a second campus will go to the DC Bilingual Public Charter School, and a third campus and online school will transfer to Friendship Public Charter Schools.
Some of the proceeds from the settlement could be apportioned to the new schools.
The settlement does not resolve a separate lawsuit filed against two members of the school’s board of trustees, Ernest Green Jr. and Maurice Sykes. The complaint says that the trustees received money or expected to receive money from the school’s management company but that they failed to disclose their business dealings and acted to further the interests of Amos at the expense of the school.