PENSACOLA, Fla. (WFLA) – The man once in charge of managing several charter schools in the Tampa Bay area, including St. Petersburg’s Windsor Prep charter school and five other schools in Florida and Ohio is in deepening trouble tonight after a Pensacola-based grand jury indicted his company for aggravated white-collar crimes, theft and money laundering.
The same grand jury indicted Marcus May, the founder of Newpoint Education Partners, individually last month for racketeering and fraud.
Now, the charter school management company is also under indictment for swindling the state and taxpayers out of more than $1 million through a complicated scheme of kickbacks, overcharges and fraud in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Broward, Duval, Bay and Escambia counties.
Russell Edgar, the acting assistant statewide prosecutor based in Pensacola, says the additional criminal charges raise May’s legal troubles to a new level. “Being a principal owner of the company that’s a pretty fair assumption,” Edgar said.
The new indictments will also have an impact on Steve Kunkemoeller, May’s racketeering co-defendant who ran Red Ignition and School Warehouse, two “vendor” companies.
The prosecution claims May and Kunkemoeller created the companies to supply goods and services to May’s charter schools at inflated prices. The grand jury also charged Red Ignition and School Warehouse along with Newpoint Education Partners.
Edgar says the latest round of grand jury indictments should please Windsor Prep parents who watched their charter school financially crumble while May enriched himself with tax dollars intended to help finance their kids’ education.
“Perhaps gives them some encouragement that we will address these problems and we will enforce the law and we will bring this case to court and try to seek justice for the State of Florida and the people who have been victimized,” Edgar said.
May and Kunkemoeller are free on bail, awaiting trial in Pensacola by the statewide prosecutor. Kunkemoeller lives in Ohio and May has a home in Sarasota, which prosecutors say was purchased with public money stolen from Windsor Prep and other charter schools.
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