West Virginia Record

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Class action lawsuit filed by graduates after business college lost accreditation

By Kyla Asbury | Jun 14, 2017

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CLARKSBURG – A class action lawsuit has been filed against West Virginia Business College after it lost its accreditation.

President John A. Tarr and Vice President Teddy Tarr were also named as defendants in the suit.

In April, WVBC lost its accreditation when it was revoked by the Council for Community and Technical College Education, according to a complaint filed in Harrison Circuit Court.

Katlynn Flemings, Rebecca Wolfe and Terri McGinnis claim on June 7, a group of approximately 100 students graduated from the school with unaccredited degrees.

The following day, council members  of the Community and Technical College Education voted unanimously revoke the business permit of WVBC effective June 30, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants were assuring the plaintiffs and the class members that WVBC was and is in sound shape.

The defendants’ actions violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants also breached their contract and were negligent.

The defendants also breached their duty of good faith and fair dealing, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants committed fraud by failing to timely notify the students of the accreditation issues and of its uncertain status.

The defendants have been unjustly enriched at the plaintiffs’ expense, as it continued to advise the plaintiffs and class members that the program was in sound shape, according to the suit. As a direct result of the defendants material misrepresentations, the defendants realized a financial benefit by preventing current and enrolling students the opportunity to make an informed decision prior to enrolling with the school and by collecting tuition and fees from the plaintiffs and the class.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are being represented by Charles R. “Rusty” Webb of the Webb Law Centre.

The school issued a press release on the matter, stating that the long-time owners of the school had officially retired on May 31.

“The daily operation of the college has been transferred to a new management team comprised of current and past employees,” the press release stated. “This three-member team has entered into a purchasing agreement with the recently retired ownership of West Virginia Business College (WVBC).”

The college and the new management team remains on schedule and steeped in the ongoing process of achieving a new accreditation duly recognized by the United States Department of Education.

“The USDOE has been timely and regularly informed of this process,” it states. “The USDOE fully supports the college. It is important to note that WVBC has remained in perfect compliance with the USDOE during this process which began in August of 2016.”

The press release stated that WVBC has been granted provisionary program and financial aid approval to continue to be recognized and confer credentials—both degrees and diplomas—for period of 18 months.

“This period of time allows ample opportunity to finalize our national accreditation,” it stated.

The press release also stated that the recent vote by the WVCTCS not to recognize the federal accreditation was a decision that the college had no control over and that the council’s deputy counsel, Candace Kraus, was made aware of all actions being taken by the college and new management team prior to the June 8 meeting.

“Ms. Kraus has indicated that the WVCTCS will act on the approval of our permit application once the accreditation process for WVBC is completed,” the press release stated.

The press release stated that the school would be kept open continuously and would see all current students through to graduation.

“Our first and most important job is to meet the needs of our students,” it said. “Importantly for those students, all title IV funds (financial aid) will stay in place and available for those who have qualified. All earned credentials shall be granted upon program completion and are recognized by the USDOE.”

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Organizations in this Story

The Webb Law Firm, PLLCKanawha Circuit Court