Document review slows state lawsuit against e-school founder

Ohio

The lawyers involved won’t comment on details of the new documents, citing a nondisclosure order

(AP Photo/Kantele Franko)

Students and other supporters of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow rally outside the Ohio Supreme Court, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio, as the court hears arguments in ECOT’s legal dispute with the state. The now-closed e-school has challenged how state officials tallied student enrollment and participation to determine ECOT should repay tens of millions of dollars. (AP Photo/Kantele Franko)

CLEVELAND (AP) — A review of thousands of documents is delaying a state lawsuit aimed at recouping millions of dollars from the founder and leaders of what was once Ohio’s largest online charter school.

Lawyers for the defendants tied to the defunct Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow said in September they located about 50,000 new documents the state’s lawyers had requested to see. To review those, Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and the defendants agreed to delay some case deadlines until next summer.

Karl Schneider, a lawyer for ECOT founder William Lager and Lager’s companies named in the suit, told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer the records weren’t produced late to delay the case.

The lawyers involved won’t comment on details of the new documents, citing a nondisclosure order.

The school of 11,000-plus students closed two years ago after the state concluded student participation data didn’t justify all of ECOT’s public funding and started trying to recoup nearly $80 million.

Critics have questioned Yost’s approach to the case, noting he was an ECOT graduation speaker and got political donations from Lager, but Yost’s office has said he is aggressively pursuing the money.

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