Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Gradebook

Landlord seeks to evict Plato Academy charter school in Trinity over unpaid rent

The sides have been embroiled in legal disagreements since shortly after the death of Plato founder Steve Christopoulos.
The entrance to Plato Trinity Academy at 8812 Old County Road 54 in New Port Richey. [THOMAS TOBIN  |  Google Maps]
The entrance to Plato Trinity Academy at 8812 Old County Road 54 in New Port Richey. [THOMAS TOBIN | Google Maps]
Published Aug. 23, 2019
Updated Aug. 23, 2019

The management firm that holds the leases to the sites of nine Plato Academy charter schools has moved to throw the school out of its Pasco County campus in Trinity.

Old CR 54, affiliated with Superior Schools Corp., filed a complaint in Pasco County court seeking an eviction order against Plato Trinity, which had 308 students enrolled as of the most recent available count.

The complaint alleges that Plato had fallen behind on its rent payments, which were $39,738.33 a month until July, when they rose to $47,686 a month. It states that Plato had made good on three monthly payments since receiving a notice of default for 8812 Old County Road 54 in early August.

But the group still had not repaid the amounts for October 2018, or the months of April through August 2019, according to the complaint.

Lawyers for Old CR 54 asked the court to intervene and allow the owner to repossess the property.

“Filing this action was a difficult decision to make. Before filing we attempted to resolve this without involving the courts,” said Superior CEO Jenny Tsantilas.

“It was only after sending numerous requests for payment, and being promised payments that never came through, we were forced to file. The Plato board has made the decision to manage the schools and part of that responsibility is ensuring that they have budgeted sufficient funds to pay their obligations.”

Superior remained open to working with the Plato board to resolve the charter school group’s problems, she added.

Plato board Chairman Elias Kolettis and member Louis Kokkinakos declined to comment about the matter.

Member John Petalas told a reporter to “ask the school district” and said he doesn’t know why Plato wasn’t paying rent. Member Chris Alahouzos said it is his understanding that the problem is being addressed.“

Based on the meeting,” he said, “within a month, everything will be up to date.”

The two sides have been feuding over control since shortly after the summer 2018 death of Superior founder Steve Christopolous.

Tsantilas, his ex wife, filed paperwork with the state to take over the company nine days later. Soon after, she began firing key staff and consolidating control.

The Plato governing board fired Superior as a management company in April.

RELATED: Plato Academy charter schools in turmoil over management, family feud

The troubles soon began bubbling over into other aspects of the charter group’s operations. Plato stopped construction at two sites, and canceled plans to expand to two others.

By mid-August, Pasco County school district officials had grown concerned enough to send a letter seeking some assurances that Plato was financially capable of continuing its operations.

“As you know, the School Board has an interest in the facilities which are utilized for Pasco County students,” superintendent Kurt Browning wrote.

He asked the charter operator to submit detailed financial information regarding lease payments, as well as any other “relevant information regarding your access to facilities.”

RELATED: Pasco school district seeks assurances from Plato Academy charter school

Browning said Friday that he had heard back from Plato’s Trinity principal that the school had made some lease repayments and aimed to have them all completed by November. He said he did not want to insert himself into the private business dealings, but noted the district remained concerned about the fate of the hundreds of students attending the campus.

Note: This post has been updated with comments from the Plato Academy board members.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. The Pinellas County school system is offering driver education camps to hundreds of students like this one over the summer. The program will be held over two sessions at nine high school campuses across the county.
  2. Incoming Superintendent Addison Davis (center) and School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) sign Davis' contract with the Hillsborough County School District after it was unanimously approved by the school board on February 18, 2020.
  3. Incoming Hillsborough School Superintendent Addison Davis (center), School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) and the other board members pose as Davis signs his contract with the district on Tuesday night. The board unanimously approved the contract beforehand.
  4. Jarvis Delon West was arrested on child neglect charges after he didn't report an employee at AMI Kids who slammed a boy to the ground, according to police.
  5. Associate professor of biology Caitlin Gille leads the Pasco-Hernando State College faculty union, which challenged the school's public comment rules.  (Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Gille)
  6. Prekindergarten students at James B. Sanderlin IB World School in St. Petersburg, show the peace sign during an assembly in 2012. New state data show children in prekindergarten are better prepared for kindergarten than those who don't attend.
  7. Leon County fifth-grader Ingrid Hanley asks the Senate Education Committee not to adopt legislation that would get tougher on D-rated schools, during a Feb. 17, 2020, session.
  8. Nadia King, 6, is smiles for a photo. The special-needs student was taken from school Feb. 4 and placed in a mental health facility under Florida's Baker Act, and now her mother and a team of attorneys are asking why.
  9. The Voluntary Prekindergarten room is one feature of the new Bardmoor Branch of the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg. The location also includes a child-care center and Preschool Academy.
  10. FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, file photo, students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooter opened fire on the campus. School districts continue to improve their security plans in the aftermath. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File)
  11. Clay County Schools Superintendent Addison Davis (wearing a pink tie), center, takes photos with the  Hillsborough County Public Schools board members after being voted unaminous as the new incoming superintendent in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.
  12. University of Florida students walk through Turlington Plaza in between classes on Thursday afternoon, February 13, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement