School Reported Closed

August 15, 2010

When August comes around, most people think of children going back to school. That may not be the case for Ladera International School of Saipan (LISS). According to sources, the controversial school has finally shut its doors.

Teachers were called for a meeting at the school last Thursday where they were informed that the school was closing because the Parks "were out of money." The teachers expected to report to the school on the 16th, but were given their last paychecks when they were informed about the closing.

Teachers were supposed to sign contracts August 1st, but reported that the administration "kept holding them off."  It was suggested that teachers hang on without pay until October when "a new investor could be found."

A former teacher reported that some teachers also investigated and learned that the school had not been paying social security benefits for the employees.

The school has been plagued with controversy for failing to pay their employees and questionable practices, which affected the quality of education.  There were two major lawsuits filed against the school's owners, the Parks, last year. Huk Sun sued the owners charging human trafficking, fraud, and FLSA violation including unpaid minimum wage and overtime compensation. Former LISS principal Richard Nigh also sued the owners for alleged willful and outrageous conduct and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.  The CNMI Department of Labor also charged that LISS violated labor law by failure to pay the former dorm manager.  Additionally, it is rumored that one of the owners, Sung Yun Anne Kim, is reportedly jailed in South Korea for another scam.

According to sources, as of last week Thursday, the school had not informed the parents of the school's closing.  One student who learned of the closing reportedly texted other students and the word spread from students to parents.

A former teacher reported that the school's closing so close to school starting time has students and their parents concerned. Many private schools have started classes and others are full.

The school's website still features the messages of endorsement from Governor Fitial and now jailed felon former Lt. Governor Tim Villagomez and from the Marianas Visitors Authority Perry Tenorio and Jerry Tan.

This entire LISS scandal shows the incompetence of regulating private schools in the CNMI. All schools - public and private - need vigilant oversight to ensure quality education and safety for every student.  Who is regulating private schools in the CNMI?

UPDATE: See also the view of the principal from this new Saipan Tribune article.

See also these posts on LISS:

Ladera Violates DOL order
New Case Filed Against Ladera School
Ladera International School of Saipan Update
Governor Intervention in Human Trafficking Case?

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some corrections:
The meeting was on Friday, not Thursday.

Not all parents were notified. In fact, few if any were notified.

Anne Kim is not in jail in Korea. She is currently on Saipan and was trying to buy out the Park's interests in the school in order to keep it open.

Social Security? The social security office says there is sometimes a delay in the posting of it to individual workers. They said check in October 2010 to see if social security taxes collected in 2009 have been properly credited.

Another factual error of the Saipan Tribune article: Captain Jack Sparrow aka Jack Angello was brought into the school in March of this year to be the henchman, excuse me principal.

I believe that there are several other lawsuits in the works concerning not only the actions of the school but Captain Jack's actions as well.

Anonymous said...

Kim was in jail. Guess she was sprung.

TAGLISH said...

Ms. Wendy, no one is regulating the private schools in CNMI. FYI, some privates schools are charging hefty amount of money to non-US students just to get F1/F2 visa. Sponsors who are the middlemen of the schools and the non-US parents (Koreans and Chinese in particular) are making money too. Someone should dig deeper into this.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a job for the feds. Tell them what you know.

Anonymous said...

It seems everything and anything that this Gov. and his puppets get into or endorse fails.
This Gov. attracts the worse, like fly's and the resulting maggots.
Does anybody know of anything that this Gov. has brought in or got involved in that has not cost the NMI unnecessary money and did not result in failure???

Anonymous said...

One parent learned about Ladera's closing at 2pm last Friday by text mail from her child's classmate, then she left work early and rushed to Hopwood Jr. High to enroll him because Friday was Hopwood's last enrollment day.

After she finished enrollment, she went straight to
Ladera's office to complain. She complained to Angello, but he didn't say anything but grinned at her. And Hazel was just making excuse that she didn't have enough time to let the parents know because she had a lot of things to do. The parent got really upset. Fortunately, she didn't pay any fees or tuition yet.

Anonymous said...

Makes sense- the felon Wayne gets expunged just in time to re-enter the government daddy=pete reyes

Anonymous said...

If you think Ladera is corrupt, check out our untaxed QCs, like Bridge Capital for instance, they are bad shady. They move from Guam to LVegas, to DC, to VI, but when Ben and Tim take office, they run here for free taxes so that there casinos can hide here in Saipan, USA.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Totally off the subject.

Anybody else think it is weird that Joe Camacho the Covenant flag bearer is not heavily campaigning?

Look at MVariety.com and SaipanTribune.com and he is the only one with no banner ads. Run down the main roads and he only has 18"x 11" placards every 2 or 4 miles and he is the only one with no main big boards.

I can only imagine he is either not trying to win or more than likely he believes he has this in the bag already.

How? I believe that they are rigging this election. They have already brought about a bunch of big changes such as manual hand counting not electronic, changing voting polling locations, altering law to allow for absentee ballots without notary, early voting procedures, etc.

I know this is a federal election but will we really have federal oversight? At what level? Will they allow election observers to "observe" from 20 feet away during manual counts while CEC is altering ballots with white stickers and black ones?

Anyone have any more to add?

Saipan Writer said...

Anon 7:11 AM. I've often wondered about Bridge Capital. Anyone would come to a place where there are tax benefits--that alone doesn't make a business shady or corrupt. And without evidence or factual basis, the wondering and puzzlement are just that--unfounded suspicions based on instinct and gut feelings.

As for LISS, they have been fairly dishonorable throughout their existence, from their inception when they advertised using photos of Saipan International School to their closing, when they failed to inform parents in a timely and honest manner.

I may feel sorry for the kids, who are innocent children, but I'm not sympathetic to their parents who were competent to figure out that LISS is not an upright and honorable school like most of our other private schools. I suspect that a lot of the local parents accepted "scholarships" for their kids as part of the political payback and sick relationship to the Fitial administration.

Anonymous said...

Noni 5:40 The time to ask for federal observers is now. Ask the DoJ to lead you in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

Bridge Capital = shady. There is enough evidence to write a small book.

Anonymous said...

It isn't really the case that Ladera closed because of the bad economy. By looking at the past record, we find the following:
1. The school was unable to gain permission from the government to bring foreign students.
2. It has several lawsuits against it.
3. It had many plans such as with Northwest Missouri State University and others that were botched.
4. Its vice-president is appealing a ruling in Korea which convicted her of fraud.
5. It has surrounded itself with people who have police records.
6. By reading comments in the newspapers, it is evident that it hired teachers and got some students already for this year, only to tell them at this late date that there will be no school.
7. And on and on.
LISS has really no one to blame but itself, and it is really not true that the bad economy was the leading factor in their closing.

Anonymous said...

5:40, this "election reform" to allow up to ten day early voting, along with what you have stated got me thinking along your same lines. Especially the early voting and the hand count.
I agree with 8:40.also.

Anonymous said...

@9:16 Some of your points are incorrect.

1. Wrong. The school received SEVIS approval and can indeed bring in foreign students. It did have one student last year who got a US student visa from the US Embassy in Korea.

2. I don't know if the right number is several.

3. Please describe what you mean by botched? I think it's better to say they didn't work out the way they were supposed to.

4. That's just a rumor and while you comment as though it's fact, it isn't. If she was appealing a conviction for fraud then why would she be flying back and forth to Korea regularly?

5. Surrounded itself? That would imply that many of the teachers and/or staff are criminals. That is unfair and an outright lie.

If anything, the school's demise is due to greed on the part of one of the owners, Yong Nam Park and his little stooge Jack Angello.

Anyways, I heard that it is trying to reopen with new ownership thanks to the work of one of administrators(not Jack "the Stooge" Angello) and one of the co-owners.