Lincoln Memorial Academy principal says school was treated differently from the start

Lincoln Memorial Academy is arguing that the school district revoked its charter illegally. But Manatee County Administrative Judge Robert Cohen says there has to be something to validate LMA's claim.

The school's HR Contractor Deanna King says the payroll records were lost.

Erin Jackson, the attorney for the district asked King where they were.

King: They are on a file.

Jackson: What file?

King: On a thumb drive.

Jackson: What thumb drive?.

King: The thumb drive that I have for LMA.

Jackson: Where is that thumb drive?

King: That thumb drive crashed.

When Jackson pushed for specifics, King said the drive crashed the day auditors came, before meeting them.

That audit showed the school has $780,000 in unpaid invoices and has fallen behind $259,000 in payroll.

King said the district would only send Title-I checks through the USPS.

"It wasn't certified mail, no one had to sign for it," King said.

Speaking for the first time Thursday, Former Principal Eddie Hundley said LMA wasn't treated like other charters from the start.

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"At the time of the formation of LMA it was the general feeling that we weren't treated the same way as Rowlette when they converted," he said.

Hundley got emotional before the judge when he was describing his final days at the school, and the moments after he resigned as principal.

"They packed up my office, and put it all in my truck," Hundley said between tears. "This was supposed to continue running as a charter until this was over."

The judge is expected to make a decision in the coming weeks.