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Atlanta: Charter School Boss Pleads Guilty to Theft of Funds

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Once a bright light of the charter industry, Chris Clemons pleaded guilty to major thefts from the school he founded and led and is now bound for prison.

“An Atlanta charter school founder has pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing more than half a million dollars from local public school systems.

“The former principal at Latin Academy, Chris Clemons, pleaded guilty to over 50 counts of theft and five counts of forgery after a hearing and sentencing that lasted about two  hours.

“Clemons was accused of defrauding three Atlanta area schools, and forcing at least one, the Latin Academy, to close because of a lack of funds. He faced up to 865 years in prison and $5.5 million in fines.

”The state alleged that the 39-year-old Clemon spent more than $50,000 to Atlanta strip clubs and made countless cash withdrawals.

“Parents said they were devastated when they learned what Clemons was doing.

“In the end, he has been ordered to pay $810,000 in restitution and was sentenced to 20 years, 10 to serve and 10 on probation.”

The moral of the story is that public money must be accompanied by public oversight.

Mercedes Schneider wrote about Clemons’ sterling resume. He was trained by Boston’s reformer “Building Excellent Schools” then earned an MBA at MIT, where he was featured for his vision and dedication to children.

Even for MIT grads, crime doesn’t pay.


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