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PREVIOUS COVERAGE | Bradenton Prep sues parents for unpaid tuition

BRADENTON — The financially troubled Bradenton Preparatory Academy is suing two families for thousands of dollars in unpaid tuition, court records show.

The Children’s Place Inc., the private school’s corporate owner, filed separate lawsuits in Manatee County Circuit Court this week against David H. Sing, of Bradenton, and David and Dee Anne Greenfield, of Bradenton.

The parents entered into contracts during different months last year for their children to attend the school at 7900 40th Ave. W. in Bradenton, according to each suit.

The first suit claims Sing had four children enrolled and signed four contracts totaling $16,000, but failed to pay $8,000 of it. The second contends the Greenfields owe the school $9,755.30 for defaulting on two contracts totaling $18,000 for their two children.

The suits also seek interest, late penalties and attorney fees.

David Greenfield declined to comment Wednesday, citing the pending legal matter. Sing could not be reached by phone for comment.

Two lenders are seeking to foreclose on the school campus, contending school officials defaulted on $5.7 million in loans. The school also has lost a leased sport-utility vehicle for nonpayment, and is on the verge of losing another vehicle — a Chevrolet pickup truck — for the same reason, court records show.

Also, the Florida Department of Revenue filed a $12,285 tax lien against the school last month for unpaid unemployment taxes.

Parents at the school, including the Greenfields, were recently sent a notice from the Internal Revenue Service notifying them The Children’s Place owes at least $1.25 million in unpaid payroll taxes, late fees, interest and penalties from 2007 and 2008.

The IRS directive, contained in a December letter to parents, prompted the Greenfields to pull their children from the school.

According to the Manatee County Clerk’s Web site, the suits against those parents are the first that The Children’s Place has filed in Manatee since 1998.

However, documents from cases earlier than that year are not available online.

Edwin T. Mulock, the school’s attorney in both cases, said the suits are not related to the school’s current financial woes.

“It’s a normal business situation,” he said. “The school is enforcing their right under their contract to require people to pay what they agreed to pay.”

Mulock said the school has in the past attempted to work with parents who fell behind on their tuition payments, but sometimes has had to resort to legal action.

“It’s an effort to collect money owed to Bradenton Prep,” Mulock said. “That’s going to be their policy in the future.”

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