By Sid Riley
Senator Al Lawson Enters Compensation Bill for Local Educator and Businesswoman, Kay Stripling
The wheels of justice grind slowly… sometimes so slowly they appear to not be moving at all. That has been the situation for the past four years for local educator, Kay Stripling as she fought a difficult and long battle against the powerful state bureaucracy within the Department of Education in Tallahassee.
Her battle began when the state DOE accused her of misuse of federal educational grant funds she was receiving for delivering services to assist "drop outs" from the education system to study and obtain their GED, under a faith based program entitled "Read and Lead". Mrs. Stripling charges that during the 2004-2005 era, the state DOE was on a "Bush programs witch hunt" against federally sponsored faith based programs.
It was charged that the DOE officials singled out Mrs. Stripling’s program, refused to honor $200,000 in invoices, and informed state and federal regulators that she mishandled federal monies. These accusations led to the halting of her program and a federal probe with threats of indictment. After lengthy investigation the accusations were found to be false and she was completely cleared of all wrong doing.
In a turn of events, the FAMU bureaucrat, Pat McGill, who administered the grants programs for the FAMU Institute on Urban Commerce and Policy was later indicted, found guilty of fraud, taking multiple kick-backs, and conspiracy.
This four year ordeal was very costly to Mrs. Stripling, who must now begin to resume her career and rebuild her reputation. Because these losses were the direct result of state actions, Senator Al Lawson is going to file claims bill #0064 in the Florida Senate on August 1, 2008 in Mrs. Stripling’s behalf for $4,685,000. The basis of the claim is that the State Department of Education is guilty of breach of contract, and discriminated against her and her faith based company because she is an evangelical Christian. Mrs. Stripling currently has a law suit against the Department of Education pending in Leon County concerning this matter.