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Lon Morris College: altered transcripts to bankruptcy auction

with 7 comments

As a footnote to the original article, the Texas Attorney General’s office is now questioning former Lon Morris president Dr. Miles McCall regarding over $1.3 million in missing endowment monies.

JACKSONVILLE — The former president of Lon Morris College is at the center of a Texas Attorney General investigation into a missing $1.3 million. The money comes from an endowment that should have reverted to Sam Houston State University after LMC declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July.

Dr. Miles McCall — who was college president from July 2005 until he resigned May 24 — was questioned in Arlington this week regarding management of the endowment, according to officials and court documents. He had been ordered by a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge to comply with the questioning.

(Source: Jacksonville Daily Progress, “Texas Attorney General investigates missing $1.3 million in endowment money, former Lon Morris College president questioned,” Oct.24, 2012)

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How the local media lies, covers up, and buries stories.

Jacksonville, TX:

Lon Morris College is being auctioned to pay off the $30 million debt it has accumulated. They lied to us that the junior college was financial stable, despite employees being paid late repeatedly in violation of federal labor laws. (Source: CNN, May 24, 2012) They lied to us that the oldest two year college in the State of Texas was not going to bankruptcy court, when in fact Chapter 11 measures were in place to petition the US Eastern District to keep creditors at bay. (Source: KLTV, July 5, 2012) They lied to enrolling students that their financial aid was not in jeopardy, after holding federal loan disbursements longer than allowable — then being placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) commission. (Source: Tyler Paper, Dec. 22, 2011) They told high school graduates that Fall classes were in full swing and recruited students to apply for scholarships and financial aid, knowing the school was permanently closing its doors this Fall. (KETK, Aug. 24, 2012)

They knew the risks of enrollment during Chapter 11 bankruptcy, furloughing their entire teaching staff, and the Department of Education cutting off financial aid, yet they continued to actively recruit students. Colleges that have entered bankruptcy are debarred from participating in Federal Student Assistance (FSA) Title IV programs. They masked their last ditch capital raising efforts in the cloak of fake Christianity, community solidarity, and blind loyalty. Their cult mentality shined through with a faculty willing to work for free, month after month, and obediently keeping their mouths shut when asked about it.

“Earlier reports of Lon Morris Junior College entering Texas bankruptcy courts suggested students planning to attend this fall would be safe for the semester as debt resolution efforts played out.  However, an announcement was made last week that the fall semester would not carry on as planned and, instead, will have classes suspended.” (Source: “Lon Morris College Files for Bankruptcy” Sept. 4, 2012)

This type of behavior and consorted effort to bury their collective ingrained corruption is nothing new. Locals forget how previous LMC president Clifford M. Lee told registrars to change the failing grades of his enrolled son, resulting in the resignation of Board of Trustees members. (Source: Texas City Sun, Oct. 8, 1997) That incident of fixing transcripts by the college president was also spun by local reporters when the facts surfaced and were picked up by the Associated Press.

“Lon Morris College president investigated for having son’s grade changed”

JACKSONVILLE, Texas (AP) – The president of Lon Morris College ordered a failing mark on his son’s transcript at the school to be upgraded, the Jacksonville Daily Progress reported Sunday. In a copyright story, the newspaper reported that Clifford Lee has been investigated for directing the school registrar to change a 1995 math score from an “F” to a “C” on his son Craig’s transcript this summer.” (Source: Texas News, Sept. 29. 1997)

Events surrounding child porn charges against Lon Morris head golf coach Barry Griffin and his subsequent 4 1/2 year federal prison sentence were reported belatedly and as matter-of-fact. (Source: “Ex-Lon Morris Head Golf Coach Gets 4 1/2 Years For Child Porn,” Tyler Paper, June 10, 2009) Reports on out of town and overnight tournaments accompanied by Coach Griffin and students ceased only after other media outlets reported his arrest. Now, the local media refuses to print the bankruptcy sale and piece meal auction of the Lon Morris property and school’s assets. It is bad enough for a trusted institution facing $30 million in federal debt litigation to leave so many students and faculty in limbo. But to actively recruit naïve high school graduates with the help of the local media lying about the severity of Lon Morris’ financial problems goes beyond the pale. Even as Lon Morris was being divided, sold, and reverting back to original owners under Chapter 11 bankruptcy litigation, they told parents and students otherwise.

The carrot of a ‘free education’ was beguiling to lower income families, paid by the Pell Grants the junior college needed to stay out of the red.  They knew that student enrollment alone would not cover the school’s accumulated debt of $30 million. But with 98% of the student body on financial aid, the goal was always to increase enrollment. This is why Lon Morris held student loans longer than the 14 days past disbursement per the US Department of Education. (Source: Daily Progress, “LMC violates federal aid regulation” May18, 2011) This is why they kept their doors open for enrollment after laying off their entire teaching faculty and a posted foreclosure.

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No financial aid checks to draw interest off of, no school.

Out of town parents oblivious to the level of corruption permeating every institution in this county should use this as their wake up call. These institutions are the advertisers for the “News” outlets whose purpose is to paint the rosiest picture of the stinking corruption that keeps this place afloat. The worse it gets, the thicker they pile it on. When their associates are caught and sent to prison, they pretend their crimes never took place, ignoring the years of accolades spread by false reporting and word-of-mouth. If you want the facts surrounding the everyday affairs of Cherokee County, you’ll have to read about it in newspapers a hundred miles away, if it ever gets reported at all. The truth rarely sees the light of day here.

Welcome to Cherokee County, Texas.  Spend your money wisely. Spend it elsewhere.

Sources:

Written by Cherokee County, Texas

10/02/2012 at 8:00 PM

7 Responses

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  1. Another great article!!!

    Anonymous

    10/03/2012 at 12:36 AM

  2. Looks the Daily Progress was shamed into printing the story a week later about the Lon Morris liquidation sale:
    http://jacksonvilleprogress.com/local/x1149569445/Lon-Morris-to-liquidate-all-of-its-assets-through-auctions

    Anonymous

    10/05/2012 at 1:08 PM

    • Damaging facts always have to go through the county filters before released to the public.
      There is no shame involved; however readers shouldn’t have to read about it first in a blog hundreds of miles away with no vested interest in the place.

  3. Lon Morris needs a new beginning.

    Ellison

    11/04/2012 at 11:23 PM

  4. Being a former employee of Lon Morris college, I know certain information that was never told to the media and more than certainly not to the bankruptcy lawyers. The statement above regarding the refund checks is not entirely accurate. Those checks were created and put in to the controller’s safe to hold off on mailing them as long as he could, making the other employee’s have to lie to students that they had been mailed. This controller was using ALL of the financial aid money to catch up on bills and get ahead of certain ones. This is also what caused payroll to be late. When the controller was told he really needed to mail the checks to the students in Jacksonville, he had no choice. The other students in out lying areas were put off longer. There is still the question of missing $300.000 dollars that was discovered was gone back in September of 2010, that I’m sure has never been brought to the attention of the board members and certainly not the bankruptcy lawyers and judge that is involved. Lon Morris certainly became very corrupt and I, personally, am glad I resigned when I did. I still feel for all the students that were left hanging and employee’s that went through a year long nightmare.

    Iceprincess

    11/24/2012 at 2:28 AM

    • You should contact the Texas Attorney General’s office directly and share your information.
      It will assist them in their investigation of the missing endowment monies.
      https://www.oag.state.tx.us/agency/contacts.shtml

      The local media is aware (and certainly the Tyler branch of the AG’s office) of the shuffling of financial aid at Lon Morris to pay bills; however they refuse to report it. They followed the Dr. James Long endowment case but do not mention the fact FIVE other endowment trust fund holders are also petitioning the federal bankruptcy court. Where is their money? Apparently not utilized per the charities’ wishes. By making your facts public, you provide the checks and balances Lon Morris and Cherokee County have operated without for decades.

  5. How does someone that attended this school go about getting there transcript?

    Anonymous

    07/31/2013 at 4:42 PM


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