Connecticut attorney general seeks court order to force Stone Academy to turn over information
The Connecticut Attorney General is seeking a court order to force the former Stone Academy to comply with the state’s investigation into potential violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, according to the state.
Attorney General William Tong began investigating February. To the civil demand to Stone Academy after the nursing school abruptly “closed its doors leaving students’ education plans in limbo. Stone has yet to fully comply with the demand,” Tong said.
Stone “partially complied with that civil investigative demand, but remains deficient in several important areas, including failing to produce responsive materials from non-stone.edu servers and devices, failing to identify the search terms used to gather responsive documents, and failing to produce minutes for regular meetings on issues bearing” on its operation, Tong’s statement said.
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“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,” Tong said in the statement. “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.”
Perry Rowthorn, attorney for Stone Academy, in an emailed statement laid the blame with the state.
“The Attorney General would be better served protecting his constituents – Stone students and graduates – from the harmful and unlawful conduct of the Office of Higher Education in requiring Stone to close with just two weeks’ notice, in refusing to permit a teach out for current students, in holding students’ transcripts hostage for months and now conducting an illegal audit to disenfranchise students and graduates of legitimately earned academic credits.”
“Stone has cooperated extensively with this investigation – producing nearly 100,000 pages of documents to date – and will address the minor issues raised in the Attorney General’s filing in court at the first informal conference on June 15,” Rowthorn said.
In addition to the state investigation, attorneys for eight former Stone Academy students notified school officials last week that they intend to file a class action lawsuit against the nursing school, which left more than 800 students in the dark about their standing when it abruptly shut down earlier this year, the CT Mirror reported.
The lawsuit, which will represent the class of students that attended Stone Academy from 2018 until its closure in February, will be filed early this week, the attorneys told the CT Mirror.
Tong’s statement Thursday detailed his demand to Stone for:
- Detailed information and records on the education provided to and tuition collected from each student
- Stone’s marketing practices, faculty qualifications, revenues, and accreditation materials
- Complaints received by the school
- Information on how and when the school decided to close
- How that decision was communicated to students
“The demand further sought detailed information as to how the school intends to reimburse students for tuition and costs, how it intends to assist students in continuing their education, and how it intends to inform students of their rights and options following the school closure,” Tong’s statement said.
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The enforcement order is pending before Hartford Superior Court, Tong said.