Cuyahoga County

Lion of Judah charter school operator ordered to pay $195,000 in restitution


CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The head of a now-shuttered East Side charter school was sentenced today to five years probation and has agreed to pay more than $195,000 to the state.

Prosecutors last year accused Romey Coles Jr. and other officials of the Lion of Judah charter school of funneling at least $1.2 million in public funds to businesses associated with the troubled charter school.

Last month Coles, a superintendent and board member for the school, entered a plea of guilty to one count of having an unlawful interest in a public contract and the academy, a non-profit business, entered a plea of guilty to one count of money laundering.

Prosecutors left Coles' sentence up to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Janet Burnside, who made it clear to Coles that he would have to make a substantial effort to pay restitution, including telling him to liquidate assets, such as multiple homes he owns.

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