Washington Post subsidiary Kaplan Higher Education recently surrendered its license to operate a dental assisting educational program in Charlotte, North Carolina after they were exposed misleading students about the accreditation status of the program. As I wrote in the story I broke for Truthout the Washington Post corporation that owns Kaplan entered into settlement with students for the tidy sum of $5 million (http://www.truth-out.org/kaplan-college-closes-north-carolina-dental-program-after-fraud-exposed/1327448249).
In response to the dental assisting matter, exposed by a local TV station, Kaplan published a press release “Setting the record straight”. Unfortunately, rather than setting the record straight, the press release omits material facts and makes multiple misrepresentations (http://www.kaplan.com/pages/SettingRecordStraight.aspx)
The release includes the following misleading statements, which attempt to blame the students for a “misunderstanding”
“Thus, all of our students signed a disclosure that clearly states they would qualify only to work as a DA1 in North Carolina” and “We recognize however that some of our dental assistant students misunderstood the accreditation process.”
THE FACTS: As reported in Truthout, students acknowledged signing releases, but many of them stated they were deliberately mis-lead by recruiters to believe that accreditation was in process. Students recorded a meeting with the College president, where she admitted students were given misleading information. And SOC TV uncovered Kaplan had never even applied for accreditation, even though they had been eligible (http://www.truth-out.org/kaplan-college-closes-north-carolina-dental-program-after-fraud-exposed/1327448249).
And why were students required to sign a non disclosure agreement as part of a multimillion settlement if this were simply a matter of a misunderstanding by students? What is Kaplan trying to hide?
The release also includes the following additional misleading statements about the dental program:
“We will work steadily to gain CODA accreditation at the earliest possible stage. We also have temporarily ceased enrollments so that we can re-train as necessary our staff” (ibid).
THE FACTS: the program was placed under investigation by theNorth Carolinacommunity college commission and theNorth Carolinaattorney general. Within weeks of this, Kaplan sent a letter requesting to surrender its license to operate the dental assisting program. There will be no CODA accreditation, staff retraining or any dental assisting program. (http://www.wsoctv.com/documents/2012/jan/20/kaplan-license-letter/).
Kaplan was also caught in a GAO investigation the results of which were released in August 2010. The press release went on to make these misleading claims about the matter:
“These incidents involved employees acting completely outside of our procedures and training. We were embarrassed and disturbed. Upon learning of these allegations, Kaplan immediately began its own investigation” (http://www.truth-out.org/kaplan-college-closes-north-carolina-dental-program-after-fraud-exposed/1327448249).
THE FACTS: Kaplan admits in the press release they had been the subject of 16 whistle blower lawsuits which have been pending for years. Many of these suits made allegations similar to what was disclosed in the GAO report. They suits are disclosed in Washington Post SEC filings in 2008.. Despite their claims of shock (theCasablancaexcuse) there is no way Kaplan, The Washington Post, Andy Rosen and Donald Graham could not have known about the practices disclosed in the GAO report.
The press release went on to belittle the sixteen whistleblower law suits filed against Kaplan and misrepresent them. It stated:
“Some media accounts have showcased old complaints made against the company, filed largely by several serial plaintiffs who have labeled themselves as “whistleblowers” and tried, without success, to shop their legal claims in different venues.
Here are the facts: no judge has ever ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on any of these claims, which have been pending for years. Of 16 complaints filed, 14 have been dismissed or withdrawn in their entirety. As for the remaining cases, we continue to believe they are without merit.
Further, one of these so-called “whistleblowers” was found guilty by a federal jury in December 2010 on six accounts of cybercrimes (computer hacking and threats) he committed against Kaplan, its students, and its employees. He has been sentenced to a prison term” (ibid)
THE FACTS: Of the 14 complaints dismissed or withdrawn, Kaplan settled at least one out of court. They settled the CHI surgical technology case with the Department of Justice for $1.6 million in July 2011 (see Daily Censored that broke the case at: http://dailycensored.com/2010/08/18/14478/). More cases may have been settled out of court, but this is unknown due to possible confidentiality agreements, as in the dental case.
Many of the cases were dismissed by Judge’s prior to trial based upon technical legal procedure. These procedures are used by defendants to avoid having to go to trial and produce discovery evidence which could incriminate them.
Kaplan had their former dean of legal studies Ben Wilcox prosecuted for allegedly using a computer to make threats. Mr. Wilcox was a whistleblower in a multimillion dollar claim against Kaplan, and argued he was set up. If this was a truly serious matter requiring prosecution, then why did the Washington Post newspaper not print a single word about it? There are also unanswered questions of why US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald would spend his time on such a trivial matter which had all the hallmarks of retribution. It has the appearance of being a political favor and reeks of cronyism.
It is suggested readers read Mr. Wilcox’s testimony published here: