Former LMA leaders under federal criminal investigation
MANATEE COUNTY- Two former leaders of the embattled Lincoln Memorial Academy Charter School are now under Federal Criminal Investigation. Manatee County School District received notification Monday that Lincoln Memorial Academy’s Former Principal and CEO Eddie Hundley and Former CFO Cornelle Maxfield are now facing a federal fraud investigation.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Inspector General opened up a federal probe into allegations of fraud, bribery or embezzlement, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit to fraud. Manatee School District Chief Legal Counsel Mitch Titlebaum says they did not request the investigation.
“U.S. Department of Education Office of the Inspector General,” Titlebaum said. “Which is the criminal aspects, that’s the organization that monitors criminally federal dollars, was watching media reports stepped in.”
The agency requested documentation from the district and Titlebaum says they are fully cooperating, but they are still unable to provide all of the documents requested.
“At this point in time I cannot,” Titlebaum said. “Because to this very date, despite repeated requests I’m still locked out of certain systems at LMA, despite this very moment in time, earlier this morning I requested access to certain checking account information, and was still willfully refused.”
While they are fully cooperating with the investigation, the district is preparing to make sure the school is ready to open August 12th.
“The need to develop the proper curriculum,” Titlebaum said. “That meets state standards, to make sure the staffing is adequate, that teachers are there, the support staff is there.”
According to Titlebaum they found a number of teachers did not have proper teaching certificates and required background checks were not completed.
“To make sure one you got your level two screening in place,” Titlebaum said. “To make sure all individuals who have been on that campus have level two screening, secondly that they are properly certified and teaching in the field of their choice.”
Titlebaum says the school will be ready to open August 12th.