Lawsuit accuses union in loss of scholarship funds (New Direction)

Posted by on Jun 17, 1991 in All, David Hemmerling, New Direction | No Comments

A member of the Communications Workers of America is suing his own union, accusing it of promoting an unusual scholarship program based in Maryville, Mo., without adequately investigating it.

L.M. Moody, a CWA member who resides in Anderson, S.C., is seeking to recover expenses he incurred for his son, David, to attend a residential scholarship program known as The Academy.

Housed in a former convent, The Academy imposes a strict regimen of exercise and study on its students. In exchange, students receive an all-expenses-paid scholarship to attend nearby Northwest Missouri State University.

But in February, The Kansas City Star reported that few students graduated from The Academy program. Many dropped out, disillusioned by 18-hour days of study and menial chores, cash fines and alleged harassment.

Students such as David Moody said they left after Academy officials suggested that financial troubles were forcing them to close in December. However, The Academy remained open for a handful of students.

The suit alleges Academy officials failed to pay David Moody’s tuition at Northwest Missouri, forcing his father to “sell his car and other property” to cover college expenses.

“The Moodys lost a lot of money getting involved with these people,” said Rodney Brown, the Moodys’ lawyer.

A CWA spokesman at the union’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., had no comment on the lawsuit, filed last month in Anderson County, S.C. The Academy’s founder and director, David J. Hemmerling, could not be reached for comment.

According to the suit, The Academy moved to Maryville from Pennsylvania in 1989 because of “bad management, loss of money” and “a number of allegations against them for cheating people out of money. ” Brown said the suit was filed against the union because it was unlikely The Academy has many financial resources.

“And it was the union that turned people on to The Academy.

They raised money for it and recommended it,” Brown said. “They breached their fiduciary responsibility owed a union member. ” Union officials helped raise money for The Academy and served on its board of directors, according to the suit. Advertisements for the scholarship program also allegedly appeared in union publications.

Lawsuit accuses union in loss of scholarship funds A father contends communications workers helped promote The Academy in Maryville, Mo.


Staff Writer
The Kansas City Star
June 17, 1991
Page: B2