Prime Prep contractor says he's owed $73,000

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on November 30, 2012 at 11:22 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 30 at 11:22 PM

DALLAS -- Deion Sanders' new, taxpayer-supported charter school, Prime Prep Academy, is already accused of cheating in athletics and putting student's safety at risk. Now new problems have arisen for Sanders and his business partner.

A contractor says Prime Prep owes him money - tens of thousands of dollars - and he's prepared to foreclose on the school to get it.

Long-time Dallas contractor Monrow Trammell said he has run out of patience in dealing with Prime Prep Academy in Dallas.

"And they kept putting us off, putting us off, putting us off," Trammell said.

He claims the school owes him nearly $73,000 for renovations done to Prime Prep's Dallas campus to make it ready for students.

Trammel said when he started making renovations to the school at the beginning of the summer, he was being paid. But by the time school started, the payments stopped and the excuses started.

Trammell said he finished renovations, paid all of his subs, and then started a series of meetings with school Chief Executive Officer D.L. Wallace, trying to get paid.

"We've probably had 20 meetings set up and we had lunch with him one time, and got a bunch of promises for Monday or Tuesday of the next week,” Trammell said. “And then it was he had to go to the Board to get the money approved and he couldn't pay but one invoice at a time or two. It's just gone on and on and on."

On October 26, Trammell's company filed a lien against the school. Trammell said Wallace agreed to meet with him last weekend at the Worthington Hotel in Fort Worth to discuss payment. He said Wallace never showed.

Wallace tells News 8 a different story.

"We have a dispute with Trammell that's been ongoing,” Wallace said. “We did make a poor decision in getting him to do work. A lot of the things he's claiming we owe, we don't."

Regardless, Trammell said if he's not paid by the end of next week, he's going to sue the school and begin foreclosure proceedings.

It's more negative news for a school that is already creating concerns among some on the State Board of Education, whom we interviewed about Prime Prep's problems two weeks ago.

"We do not have any minds to lose,” said board member Mavis Knight. “Education is too serious, and I am just horrified with what you are sharing with me."

And while some education officials fear Prime Preps' problems may be affecting student safety and academics, Trammell fears it's now affecting his livelihood.

"He's being paid for those kids to go there, he's just not paying us," Trammel said.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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