BRADENTON — A local prep school is facing two more lawsuits from creditors, including a former head football coach who claims he’s owed more than $100,000 and was defamed.
Joseph M. Hammond’s lawsuit accuses Bradenton Preparatory Academy owner Hendrik Lamprecht failed to repay $150,000 in loans that Hammond made to the private for-profit school in 2007. Hammond is also seeking unpaid salary and damages for reported defamation, claiming Lamprecht falsely blamed him for the school’s recently dismantled football team having ineligible players.
Lamprecht said Thursday that his attorney advised him not to comment on the suit.
In addition, a creditor this week sued Bradenton Preparatory Academy LLC, Lamprecht’s company that now runs the school renamed The Prep.
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School Annual Publishing Co., claims the school purchased $17,328 in goods on May 5, 2009, and has not paid for them. The publishing company, which according to its website sells supplies including yearbooks and calenders, is seeking payment plus interest and attorneys fees.
The Prep, created from the ashes of Bradenton Preparatory Academy, lost its west Bradenton campus to foreclosure in July and relocated to its new leased storefront at 7700 Cortez Road. On Thursday the nomadic school took the first step toward getting a permanent home, when it applied for Manatee County approvals to hold K-12 classes at the storefront. The school has been shuffling students among various locations since its Aug. 31 opening.
It could take two to four months for The Prep’s building approvals to be granted, said Doug Means, a county planning division manager.
The school applied for a special-use permit that will allow it to operate in a commercially zoned building. The approval process can take several months because it requires a public hearing before a hearing officer, Means said Thursday.
The Prep also applied for county approval of a final site plan. John Rekkas, the property’s owner, paid the $7,921 in application fees by check, Means said.
Hammond’s 12-page suit filed Wednesday at the Manatee County Courthouse also mentions that builder and former Manatee County Commissioner Stan Stephens privately loaned the school $120,000 through a stock purchase agreement.
Stephens, president of Manasota Commercial Construction in Sarasota, could not be immediately reached for comment.
The stock agreement also shows Lamprecht paid $1 for a 73 percent ownership stake in the school. He was to assume all assets and liabilities, including a Hammond loan.
In 2007, Hammond lent the school $100,000, according to a promissory note included in the lawsuit. He was originally scheduled to be repaid in three installments, earning 7.5 percent interest.
Under Lamprecht’s purchase agreement, Hammond was to be paid $150,000 in 12 equal monthly installments.
Also under the agreement, because Hammond also held the title of director of sports academies, he was to be paid a $90,000 annual salary and $85,000 in bonus money.
The lawsuits add to the school’s legal and financial problems, which include:
n More than $1.1 million in IRS tax liens.
n Former teachers planning to sue over allegations they are owed tens of thousands of dollars in back pay.
n Several creditors filing suits over unpaid bills.
n Leased vehicles repossessed by lenders.
n State education officials attempting to suspend the school’s eligibility for public scholarship money.