Coaches and parents in college scheme find jobs in danger

Colleges and companies moved swiftly to distance themselves from employees swept up in a nationwide college admissions scheme,

News 12 Staff

Mar 13, 2019, 2:28 PM

Updated 1,894 days ago

Share:

Coaches and parents in college scheme find jobs in danger
By MICHAEL MELIA and ANDREW DALTON
Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Colleges and companies moved swiftly to distance themselves from employees swept up in a nationwide college admissions scheme, many of them coaches accused of taking bribes and others prominent parents accused of angling to get their children into top schools by portraying them as recruited athletes.
That celebrities were among the accused parents - actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman headline the list - created much buzz, but other parents charged included people prominent in law, finance, fashion, manufacturing and other fields - people who could afford the steep price.
At least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents were among those charged. Some parents spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, as much as $6.5 million, to guarantee their children's admission, officials said.
"Every student deserves to be considered on their individual merits when applying to college, and it's disgraceful to see anyone breaking the law to give their children an advantage over others," U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement Wednesday. "The department is looking closely at this issue and working to determine if any of our regulations have been violated."
Among the parents charged was Gordon Caplan, of Greenwich, Connecticut, co-chairman of the law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, based in New York. Caplan "will have no further firm management responsibilities," the firm said in a statement Wednesday.
Telephone messages seeking comment have been left with Caplan, who is accused of paying $75,000 to get a test supervisor to correct the answers on his daughter's ACT exam after she took it.
Hercules Capital, a Palo Alto, California, hedge fund, announced Wednesday it was replacing its leader, Manuel Henriquez, who has been arrested in New York City and released on $500,000 bail. Henriquez will still hold a seat on the board and serve as an adviser, Hercules said.
Henriquez and his wife, Elizabeth, of Atherton, California, were charged with participating in the scheme on four occasions for their two daughters. They were also charged with conspiring to bribe Gordon Ernst, former head tennis coach at Georgetown University, to designate their older daughter as a tennis recruit to facilitate her admission and with making a $400,000 contribution to a charity to help her get admitted to the school.
Georgetown said he hadn't coached there since December 2017 after an investigation found he violated university admissions rules. The University of Rhode Island says Ernst, who was hired as head women's tennis coach in August, was placed on administrative leave.
At a court hearing Tuesday in Maryland, a federal magistrate freed Ernst on $200,000 bond.
His lawyer, Michael CitaraManis, said his client isn't a flight risk. Ernst had planned to attend a job interview in Toronto soon, he said, "although I don't know the impact from these proceedings."
Also among the charged parents was Homayoun Zadeh, an associate professor of dentistry at the University of Southern California. His status at USC was unclear; his faculty profile has been removed from a website, and phone messages seeking comment were not returned.
Mark Riddell - an administrator for Bradenton, Florida's IMG Academy, which was founded by renowned tennis coach Nick Bollettieri and bills itself as the world's largest sports academy - was suspended late Tuesday after he was accused of taking college admissions tests. Riddell didn't return phone calls seeking comment.
Many of the coaches were quickly fired or suspended by the colleges. Prosecutors said the colleges themselves are not targets of the continuing investigation.
Stanford fired sailing coach John Vandemoer after he was charged with accepting $270,000 in contributions to the program for agreeing to recommend two prospective students for admission. Neither student came to Stanford, the school said.
USC fired senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel and water polo coach Jovan Vavic. Court documents say Vavic was paid $250,000 and designated two students as recruits for his team to facilitate their admission. He has been released on bond. A message was left with Vavic's lawyer seeking comment.
At Wake Forest, President Nathan Hatch said volleyball coach Bill Ferguson, who was accused of taking a bribe, has been suspended. The university's outside counsel is conducting an internal review, Hatch said.
Federal prosecutors said parents paid admissions consultant William "Rick" Singer millions of dollars to bribe their children's way into college. Some of the payouts went to coaches and administrators to falsely make their children look like star athletes, and Singer also hired ringers to take college entrance exams for students and paid off insiders at testing centers to correct students' answers, authorities said.
Singer, founder of the Edge College & Career Network of Newport Beach, California, pleaded guilty Tuesday.
___
Melia reported from Hartford, Connecticut. Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Alanna Durkin Richer and Collin Binkley in Boston; Michael Balsamo in Washington; Jim Mustian in New York; and Michael Kunzelman in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


More from News 12
1:52
Prosecution gears up for week 2 of Sen. Bob Menendez’s bribery trial

Prosecution gears up for week 2 of Sen. Bob Menendez’s bribery trial

1:31
Pleasant Monday kicks off workweek warm up in New Jersey

Pleasant Monday kicks off workweek warm up in New Jersey

2:41
Lantern ceremony in Montclair honors Asian community who faced violence and injustice

Lantern ceremony in Montclair honors Asian community who faced violence and injustice

1:53
Tour de Elizabeth takes cyclists through New Jersey's fourth-largest city

Tour de Elizabeth takes cyclists through New Jersey's fourth-largest city

0:30
Coast Guard boards anchored shipping vessel in Manasquan; no violations

Coast Guard boards anchored shipping vessel in Manasquan; no violations

0:23
Police: Haddonfield man faces charges for arson, stalking and vandalism

Police: Haddonfield man faces charges for arson, stalking and vandalism

0:17
Authorities: George Washington Bridge climber in custody

Authorities: George Washington Bridge climber in custody

1:42
Jersey Creators Market event in Jersey City brings street designers from all over Garden State

Jersey Creators Market event in Jersey City brings street designers from all over Garden State

1:45
 Missed swim lessons due to COVID-19 may be contributing to rise in child drownings

Missed swim lessons due to COVID-19 may be contributing to rise in child drownings

1:40
Red Bank's Broad Walk summer festival returns to downtown

Red Bank's Broad Walk summer festival returns to downtown

2:08
Residents get rid of junk during citywide ‘Love Newark, Keep It Clean’ campaign

Residents get rid of junk during citywide ‘Love Newark, Keep It Clean’ campaign

1:19
Bus catches fire on Garden State Parkway near Wall Township

Bus catches fire on Garden State Parkway near Wall Township

0:23
Prosecutor: Plainfield man sentenced to 5 years in prison for Bridgewater car crash

Prosecutor: Plainfield man sentenced to 5 years in prison for Bridgewater car crash

1:43
CDC urges people to get vaccinated amid resurgence of mpox

CDC urges people to get vaccinated amid resurgence of mpox

0:31
Police: Jersey City man arrested following pursuit spanning 2 counties

Police: Jersey City man arrested following pursuit spanning 2 counties

2:37
‘We’re asking to fight.’ Parents, students call on officials to save Wayne Catholic school from closing

‘We’re asking to fight.’ Parents, students call on officials to save Wayne Catholic school from closing

2:05
36th Annual Belmar Seafood Festival to take place this weekend at Silver Lake Park

36th Annual Belmar Seafood Festival to take place this weekend at Silver Lake Park

0:25
Prosecutor: Human remains found in 1 of 3 cars submerged in Cooper River in Pennsauken

Prosecutor: Human remains found in 1 of 3 cars submerged in Cooper River in Pennsauken

0:18
Newark police seek public’s help identifying package thief

Newark police seek public’s help identifying package thief

2:26
First full week of Sen. Menendez’s federal corruption trial comes to a close

First full week of Sen. Menendez’s federal corruption trial comes to a close