Wright's partner pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for running a private school with a criminal record. Wright — who, the Times also exposed, had bought his teacher certification from a criminal operation offering no classes — was never charged with a crime.

Two years later, he went into business for himself. This time, a chronically underregulated state scholarship fund provided the financial bounty. In the fall of 2007, Wright's Choice Preparatory School registered with the Florida Department of Education (DOE) to receive McKay vouchers. The nomadic academy bounced from churches to storefronts before landing in the tiny orange building in Goulds, which the school paid the county a total of $26,000 to rent for a little more than a year.

In 2008, the DOE followed a tip from Choice Prep's disgruntled office manager and discovered the school had accepted $9,500 in McKay payments for students who had long ago dropped out or been incarcerated. In order to accomplish the caper, parents' signatures had apparently been forged. Wright was ordered only to repay the money and was allowed to continue accepting McKay cash — a common procedure for the fund, as New Times has revealed.

Choice Prep was not exactly a rigorous educational institution. Students in third through 12th grade were crammed into a couple of classrooms for two hours of courses in the morning. Then, after lunch — almost always hot dogs, chips, and juice drinks — the girls gabbed in the gym while the football team practiced.

"It felt like day-care center with elementary classes," recalls Sakia Duperme, who spent two years at Choice before graduating this spring; her tuition was paid by the DOE-run Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. "I wasn't learning nothing."

Those minimal classes appear to have been Wright's means to his real end: his football squad, which, according to a high-level source close to the investigation, is the target of an NCAA probe.

Wright filed paperwork entering Choice Prep's football team for competition in 2009. He hired a string of high-profile local coaches, such as former Florida State University star and NFL player Lamont Green and current Hialeah-Miami Lakes High head coach Jerry Hughes, neither of whom responded to requests for comment for this story.

The team traveled to Key West and Orlando for tournaments. Choice Prep finished with losing records both seasons it played, but Wright's true goal, according to the person close to the NCAA investigation, was getting his players seen by Division I coaches.

Agrees 17-year-old cornerback Israel Smith: "That was all he cared about. He told the whole football team he would get us scholarships to any colleges we wanted."

NCAA investigators are studying Choice Prep's football rosters to see which players ended up in university ball.

On March 25, Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) investigators visited the Goulds school building — something the DOE never did. The sports honchos weren't impressed. Says investigator Seth Polansky: "We saw some kids around a table and a TV in the gym, and that apparently was a class."

They also discovered the school was not accredited by any of the 14 agencies required by the FHSAA. Choice was suspended from competition.

But the DOE doesn't require schools to be accredited in order to receive McKay checks. Choice Prep remains on the state's list of schools eligible to receive scholarships.

It's unclear whether Wright plans to re-open Choice Prep in another location this fall. He'll contend with a burgeoning angry mob of former students if he does. That crowd will include Sakia Duperme, who says her Choice Prep diploma was rejected by Miami Dade College. At 17, the aspiring doctor will have to return to the 10th grade, which was when she transferred from Southridge.

"He's preying on his own people," says Sakia's mother, Simone, who adds the real blame lies with the state. "It's kind of strange, because they give away all this money but they never wonder, Why is this school inside of a gym?"

As for Rashaad Easterling, the aspiring NBA player/veterinarian, his tenure at Choice Prep lasted only a few months. His mom says she yanked him after his left eye got punched by a gangbanging classmate with a grudge against Rashaad's housing project. Wright didn't call the police because the aggressor was on the football team, she says. When Rashaad transferred back to Southridge, Wright refused to send the young man's transcript. "Them kids been going faithfully to that school," she says of Choice Prep. "It's a crime."

Notes left on the doors of Wright's two Miami-Dade properties — a $200,000 Homestead house and a $123,000 townhouse in Southwest Miami-Dade — went unanswered. But he apparently threatened Sakia and Simone Duperme with litigation for speaking to New Times.

He denied any allegations of McKay fraud, says Simone. "I have money," Wright scoffed. "Why would I need to steal from the government?"

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14 comments
Antoinette Brown
Antoinette Brown

BOI AM I HAPPY THAT I SNATCHED MY SON (A.B.) OUT OF THIS MESS B4 HE GOT INTO HIGH SCHOOL....THIS IS A SAD CASE, OF PREYING ON PPL THAT REALLY DONT KNO WHAT'S GOING ON......

topgun97
topgun97

What also sad it Mr. Wright calls himself the savior of the community but has two lovely daughters that live in North Central Florida that he does NOTHING for but LIE and feed them with empty promises. Practice what you preach Mr. Wright! How in the world do you receive that amount of the money and brag about it but can't pay your child support. He has 2 homes over $100,000 but NO CHILD SUPPORT. Charity starts at home or at least with your own kids. Again I say PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH ANTRON D WRIGHT!!!!!!!!!

Keishadean69
Keishadean69

AMEN...HOW CAN U WAKE UP IN THE MORNING KNOWING U HAVE TWO BEAUTIFUL YOUNG LADIES THAT U DON'T TAKE CARE OF DON'T KNOW IF THERE DEAD OR ALIVE BUT U CAN BE A "FATHER" FIGURE TO SOMEONE ELSES KIDS...

Xiaojijie
Xiaojijie

if you like brand apparel you can try to .http://www.edhardy007.com .they will give you a lowest price and excellent quality. i trust them. you can go to visit

spittingkitty
spittingkitty

This article is suggesting that I feel sorry for the students and their parents for being duped by Wright. I refuse to believe that Saskia or her mother felt she was getting a decent education sitting in an auditorium or in front of a television set. Instead of spending two years learning nothing on the tax payer's dollar, she should have been working to earn her diploma from Southridge. It's clear she was looking for an easy way out.

This also serves as a glaring example of the inadequacies of the voucher system. The entire system should be dismantled until protocols are in place regarding accreditation. An even better suggestion is scrapping the entire program and devoting time and money into fixed the public school system.

GusGarciaRoberts
GusGarciaRoberts

Thanks for reading. I am certainly suggesting that you feel sorry for the taxpayers.

Radpad321
Radpad321

"He's preying on his own people," says Sakia's mother, Simone, who adds the real blame lies with the state. "It's kind of strange, because they give away all this money but they never wonder, Why is this school inside of a gym?"No doubt the state is throwing away more tax dollars and heads should roll, but hey Simone, you want some blame, try the mirror, right next to the state of FL is your mug. One might not wonder why you didn't ask those same questions and do something about it? You might not have been able to put an end to the whole scheme, but you could have removed your daughter from the situation.

Keishadean69
Keishadean69

So true its his fault for what he did but its also the parents fault for "allowing" there kids to attend a school inside a gym an eating fast food or hot dogs where is the lunch room...

26 yrs
26 yrs

this is amazing, he tried getting me to become head master at his school, when i asked for paperwork, he refused and i did not here from him again. driving around in a clk mercedes is where the money went...

spittingkitty
spittingkitty

If that is the way in which you construct a sentence, I'm hoping no one will be recruiting you to teach in a school, much less run one.

Something to say
Something to say

If the DOE gave him funds of any sort, they need to be charged and investigated. Makes you wonder who is making the money decisions at DOE.

..."Wright was ordered only to repay the money and was allowed to continue accepting McKay cash — a common procedure for the fund, as New Times has revealed." <<<<< What the hell is going on up there (DOE). Are you serious.

Keith G. Wright
Keith G. Wright

18 Years Of A Childhood Lost - too many kids finish school having done nothing, yet wanting everything. What the recruiter did, is only made possible by our youth's distaste for education and hard work... we have to change our priorities from a young age.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

kirkslade
kirkslade

Luke, you pussy. Make a comment. You are so spineless. You won't comment on blacks. Luke, you are a spineless loser.

Ifukedevalongoria
Ifukedevalongoria

Uncle Puke, can we here from you on racial profiling here? Or are you just interested in latinos or whites? C'mon Puke!! Lets here what them soupcoolers have to say here!!

 
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