Attorney General Tong Refutes Stone Academy Misdirection, Calls on School Leaders to Put "All of Their Money on the Table" to Make Horrible Situation Right for Hundreds of Students
Attorney General Tong to Stone Academy: “There are no easy political and public relations solutions that will help Stone now. This is a law enforcement matter”(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong today thoroughly refuted efforts by Stone Academy to re-write history, to falsely blame its mismanagement and abrupt closure on state officials, and to shirk responsibility for the serious harm they have inflicted on their nursing students. In a letter to Stone Academy’s attorney Perry Rowthorn, Attorney General Tong denounces the company’s calculated maneuvers and aggressive public relations campaigns designed to obfuscate and mislead the public, its own students, state officials and lawmakers.
“Stone is the bad actor here, and it is Stone and its ownership and management who engaged in what is clearly a long-running course of misconduct. Stone unilaterally shut down and stranded its students and graduates. There are no alternative facts here. This is a fact beyond dispute. No amount of misdirection is going to change that, and Stone’s attempts to blame its misconduct and decision to shut down on its state and federal regulators is as absurd as a driver who is prosecuted for driving 100 miles an hour blaming his arrest on the state trooper who pulled him over,” Attorney General Tong states.
Attorney General Tong’s letter goes on to detail the precise timeline of engagement between Stone Academy, the State Office of Higher Education, and the U.S. Department of Education leading up to Stone’s own hasty decision to shut its operations with no plan to assist its students in completing their education.
Attorney General Tong’s letter further details Stone’s actions since its abrupt closure to avoid legal and financial responsibility for the mess it created. Attorney General Tong’s letter responds to an inadequate so-called “teach-out plan” drafted by Stone to deflect blame for its own failures. Stone has refused to disclose the identity of the institution that would carry out the plan, and has said nothing about who would pay for the plan, how many students could be accommodated, and how they would be identified.
“The so called 'teach-out plan' described in the May 12th letter lacks any meaningful details and, critically, no real financial commitment to make this right for Stone’s students and graduates. Instead, the May 12th letter feels like another public relations ploy to deflect and avoid blame prior to completion of the formal student record review,” Attorney General Tong states.
Attorney General Tong is leading an active investigation into potential violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act by Stone Academy and its leaders. Attorney General Tong has sought court orders to force compliance with this investigation and will continue to take all appropriate measures to pursue this matter aggressively.
Stone Academy has sought discussions to resolve the State’s pending investigation and potential claims against Stone, yet the company and its leaders continue to withhold basic information from the State that would be necessary to commencing any such discussions, including financial disclosures.
“I will not consider any resolution until Stone and its members and affiliates answer all of the requests for information set forth in the pending Civil Investigative Demands, and fully disclose all financial information that I have separately requested. I can only interpret Stone's failure to provide this information to mean that it is not serious about resolution of the state’s investigation and claims,” Attorney General Tong states in the letter.
Attorney General Tong concludes with a stern warning to Stone’s counsel that the Office of the Attorney General will continue to “aggressively pursue Stone, its members and affiliates, to hold them accountable and to help and vindicate the students Stone has abandoned.”
“There are no easy political and public relations solutions that will help Stone now. This is a law enforcement matter. The only way forward for Stone and its principals is to put all of their money on the table and do everything they can to make this horrible situation right,” Attorney General Tong concludes.
Click here for the full letter.