PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The former operators of a Mount Airy charter school are now facing federal charges that they stole more than a half-million dollars in taxpayer money intended for the school.

Hugh Clark, the former board chair at the New Media Technology Charter School, and Ina Walker, the former CEO, are charged with stealing $522,000 of the school’s money and diverting it to their Black Olive restaurant and a private school.

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“It’s alleged in the indictment that neither the private school nor the Black Olive business ventures were successful financially,” says assistant US attorney Joan Burnes. “Each struggled financially. And as a result, then, of New Media’s funds being diverted to support all of these other interests, New Media, likewise, struggled financially and failed to pay some of their legitimate expenses.”

…including payments to textbook vendors and the teachers’ retirement fund.

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Last year, after New Media cut ties with Clark and Walker, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission allowed the school to retain its charter.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio 1060

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