HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced on Thursday that his office will seek another court order against Stone Academy, claiming that the shuttered business has failed to obey the state’s demands as part of an ongoing investigation.
“Full compliance with a state investigation is not optional,” Tong said. “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. 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.”
Stone Academy abruptly closed its three campuses in East Hartford, Waterbury and West Haven in February, leaving more than 800 students in the dark about what comes next.
The three Stone Academy locations had low pass rates, unqualified instructors, “invalid” clinical experience opportunities and didn’t adequately record student attendance, according to a letter released Feb. 14 from the Connecticut Office of Higher Education.
Tong vowed to investigate the school. He has demanded detailed information from Stone Academy, including what tuition was paid. Thursday’s order is the second he’s sought against the school.
He said that Stone Academy has partially complied with a civil investigative demand. However, it has not handed over materials from non-stone/edu servers and devices. Tong claims it has also not identified search terms so his office has collect certain documents, and has not given the state minutes for regular meetings that were held about the school’s operations.
In a statement to News 8, Stone was critical of the attorney general’s move.
“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,” a statement from Perry Rowthorn, Stone Academy’s lawyer, reads. “Stone will keep the focus on protecting its students and graduates, and we urge the Attorney General to do the same. 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.”
Eight former Stone Academy students filed a class action lawsuit against the school earlier this month seeking damages after they said the school failed to provide the education and training they paid for.