Bradenton Preparatory: More staff speak out

5:43 PM, Jul 23, 2010   |    comments
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Bradenton, Florida -- Teachers and parents are speaking out again about problems at a Bay area school.

Bradenton Preparatory Academy's financial problems ended in foreclosure and the property sold at auction earlier this month. Dozens of teachers say they're owed tens of thousands of dollars. Many teachers say they haven't been paid since February and, now, about a dozen are suing.

Some of the CEO's most loyal staff are speaking out about their treatment. Elton and Kim Strawderman say they believed in Bradenton Preparatory Academy and its CEO, Hendrik Lamprecht, but they say, in less than two years, that all changed.

"He's done nothing but create chaos, caused so much damage in people's lives, deceived and pulled the wool over a lot of people," says Elton.

Kim adds, "I don't care for him. He's just toxic, very toxic individual."

Elton says he's worked as a coach at the school in exchange for his children's tuition. Kim says she's been the receptionist and, like many teachers at the school, say she's owed money. The couple may be evicted from the home, they say, Lamprecht leased and offered to pay for them. Except, they say, the rent has not been paid.

"If we don't come up with the rent August 1st, we have to vacate the premises," explains Kim.

The Strawdermans aren't the only ones losing faith. The turning point for some parents came on July 9th when they witnessed Lamprecht strike a 10 Connects cameraman.

Kim was the receptionist when 10 Connects photojournalist Tim Burquest arrived at the school. "Hendrik started saying, 'Lock the doors, get the guy out.' I said, 'I have to ask you to leave.' He stepped out, I pulled the door, he stuck his foot in said I have an appointment," explains Kim.

Kim says Elton had opened the door for the 10 Connects cameraman, thinking he was a parent. "He wasn't forcefully trying to open the door and gain access to the school, that's not the case. That's how they painted the picture. Hendrik is here on a visa and if they didn't paint that picture, he's going to jail," says Elton.

Donna Cramer was at the school to pick up her son's transcripts when she says she witnessed Lamprecht hit the cameraman. "He came out yelling, 'Get off the property.' The cameraman asked, 'I need to know who you are.' 'Get off the property,' he said and smacked him on the head," recalls Cramer.

Kim says Lamprecht never had any intention of talking to 10 Connects. "He had never had any intention of interviewing with you, since the first time you came there. Hendrik said make the appointment, so we made the appointment. He said, 'and before that appointment we cancel and schedule another one, cancel that one.' [I] don't think he ever had any intention of meeting with you guys."

10 Connects tried several times to speak with Lamprecht on Thursday. Lamprecht told us by phone neither he nor his attorney would comment. The next day, Lamprecht's attorney told 10 Connects his client has had enough publicity and says the school will reopen but won't say where.

In April, Cramer paid Lamprecht $10,500 for her son's tuition in the fall. She now wants her money back.

"I'm not happy with [that] incident, uncertainty, with teachers not getting paid, what teachers are available, coaching, staff."

Cramer sites the instability of the school and Lamprecht's attack on the cameraman.

"This is the person heading up a school my son is going to. [He's] not the role model I want for him," says Lamprecht.

In a recent newsletter to parents, Lamprecht says he will reopen Bradenton Prep. Parents say they've been told it will be at a strip mall-like building on Cortez Road. We've confirmed Lamprecht has signed a lease, but some parents say this is no place for a school.

"No, my son will not go to school at a strip mall," says Cramer.

The Strawdermans say many parents, including themselves, are still waiting for their children's transcripts. They've been told the documents are in storage. She worries if she'll ever get her kids' transcripts.

"Your mind is wondering are they going to have to repeat another year. Is that fair to them? They got great grades, they worked so hard. They say they care about kids. No, you don't and you're giving us the runaround."

Isabel Mascarenas

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