Head of shuttered charter schools in Columbus, Ohio, convicted of stealing school funds

Head of shuttered charter schools in Columbus, Ohio, convicted of stealing school funds

A jury found the founder of the Talented Tenth Leadership Academies guilty of stealing $7,500 meant for the schools, which closed in 2013

The head of two closed charter schools in Columbus, Ohio, has been found guilty of two counts of theft for depositing checks for the school into his personal bank account.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that a jury convicted Andre Tucker, the founder of the two Talented Tenth Leadership Academies, of stealing $7,500 from the schools.

Tucker’s attorney argued to the jury that the case was “as confusing as it gets,” involving various contracts between the schools, Tucker, his sponsor and the state as Tucker tried to keep the schools open.

After the charter schools' sponsor, the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, voted to close Talented Tenth, Tucker went to court to try to stop the closure; he continued to run the school without the service center. The academies opened and then quickly closed in fall 2013.

Prosecutors presented evidence that Tucker wasn’t a qualified school treasurer, and therefore couldn’t legally cash the checks meant for the school. He used some of the money to pay his rent and student loans, and purchase money orders, which made the cash more difficult to track.

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