Fort Worth

June 4, 2014

Prime Prep Academy faces another lawsuit

The academy reached an out-of-court settlement in another lawsuit.

A heating and air-conditioning company is suing Prime Prep Academy, alleging that the school owes thousands of dollars for work done last year to install and repair equipment.

The lawsuit, filed last week in Tarrant County civil court, comes on the heels of an out-of-court settlement in another lawsuit involving the troubled school, which was co-founded by former Dallas Cowboy Deion Sanders.

Synergy Environmental Services alleges that in July, school officials asked the company to install air conditioning and upgrade the system at the campus at 4400 Panola Ave., also the home of Charity Church.

Prime Prep has since moved to another building at 614 Griggs Ave. because of a rent dispute with the church that resulted in the school suing the church.

Michael Greene, an attorney for Synergy, did not return calls seeking comment.

Rebecca Hicks, an attorney for Prime Prep, said, “I don’t have any knowledge of the lawsuit, so I can’t comment.”

Synergy gave Prime Prep a quote for $15,328, and representatives from the school agreed to the price, according to court documents.

The school assured Synergy that the bill would be paid in full by November 2013, but the company didn’t receive anything until December, when Prime Prep sent a partial payment of $7,664.00.

On March 17, Synergy “demanded” payment from Prime Prep but has received nothing, stating that the school has “failed and refused and still refuses to pay them,” according to the suit.

Suit and settlement

Another company, Zomax Inc., is also suing former Superintendent D.L. Wallace and Sanders for about $85,000 in payment for extensive renovations at the campus, including plumbing, repairing and building walls, and painting.

Sanders, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, founded the academy with Wallace in 2011. Sanders is no longer associated with the school, and Wallace left for a position at Charity Church.

Zomax said it did more than $125,000 in work at the school but was paid only about $41,000.

Prime Prep, however, did settle one of the lawsuits involving the school.

Last spring, Prime Prep sued Charity Church shortly after the school was evicted over nonpayment of rent. The church and the school were fighting over a lease agreement signed by Wallace, which called for the church to pay $18,000 a month in rent.

Prime Prep and Charity Church had an arrangement whereby the school could use the building rent-free for three years. But differences arose when the church claimed that the academy was using the building outside agreed-upon hours and that some equipment was damaged or missing.

The school obtained a temporary restraining order to keep from having to pay rent and to keep the church out of the building used by the school.

The church and the school reached a confidential settlement through court-ordered mediation April 29.

“All of the issues have been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction,” said John Fraser, an attorney for Charity Church.

Along with the lawsuits, the Texas Education Agency is still investigating Prime Prep Academy over concerns involving real estate transactions, financial management and fingerprinting staff.

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