MSU case heads back to state court - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

MSU fraud case heads back to state court

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A federal lawsuit filed by 14 former Mountain State University nursing students alleging racketeering and mail/wire fraud against the university heads back to state court since the plaintiffs decided to discard their racketeering allegation.

The suit was filed Aug. 3 in Jefferson County Circuit Court by Valeri Dillow, Chika Gerladine Ahunanya, Ernest Aknonwah, Tabitha Barrett, Amanda Barton, Jamie Beachley, Christine Kamuga, Nikki Kendig, Divine Kum, Stephanie Mitchell, Nur Muhammed, Victorine Ngang, Sufyan Turay and Laverne Pauline Waters.

The defendants in the case were listed as Charles H. Polk, MSU, MSU Building Co., MSU Foundation Inc. and MSU Endowment Fund

Calling the defendants a "criminal enterprise," the suit alleges there was a pattern of racketeering activity and conspiracy to engage in racketeering in the past 10 calendar years.

The suit alleges the defendants "orchestrated a scheme" to increase enrollment so the school could bring in more federal student loan and grant money.

Students said the university did not inform them about the school's progress from accrediting agencies and government agencies.

The students amended their suit July 22, deleting their previous claims under the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Since the remaining claims all deal with state law, the case will head back to Jefferson County Circuit Court, according to an Aug. 1 court order.

This case is different than another federal lawsuit filed by Adama Kargbo, against Charles Polk, MSU, MSU Building Company, MSU Foundation and MSU Endowment Fund Inc.

In a May 28 order, the court stayed proceedings for this case and said the cases are to complete mediation before Sept. 13.

In December, the West Virginia Supreme Court referred all state court actions regarding MSU's loss of accreditation to the mass litigation panel.

The order states that if a case is remanded back to state court from federal jurisdiction, it will be referred to the panel as well.

According to the order, all of these cases involve "harm caused to plaintiff as a result of Mountain State University's loss of its general accreditation, special accreditations in its nursing and nurse anesthetist programs and any other educational programs that require independent accreditation."

According to a June order from the mass litigation panel, cases are scheduled for mediation Aug. 26-28 at the Charleston Civic Center.