Deion Sanders Still Refuses to Cooperate in School Lunch Lawsuit
Deion Sanders once again faces sanctions due to his failure to participate in court proceedings surrounding the suit about his alleged misuse of subsidized lunch funds. As we have previously reported, whistleblower Lawrence Smith claimed that Prime Time Prep Academy, a charter school co-founded by Sanders and D.L. Wallace, applied for, and received, nearly $1 million under the National School Lunch Program and Summer Food Service Program, with no evidence that the money was used for school lunches or for the benefit of needy children.
On January 9, 2018, Smith asked Judge Irma Carrillo Ramirez to hold Sanders in contempt of court. Sanders lack of cooperation regarding this legal matter, according to Smith’s motion, is apparent. Smith originally alleged that Sanders failed to appear at a scheduled May 2, 2017 status conference and did not show why he failed to appear. Smith’s motion also alleges that Sanders did not comply with Judge Ramirez’s order on: May 8, 2017 requiring Sanders to reply to an interrogatory; June 9, 2017 requiring the parties are to engage in mediation; June 19, 2017 requiring the parties to appear at a settlement conference; July 7, 2017 requiring Sanders to produce responses to discovery requests; July 21, 2017 requiring Sanders to attend the oral argument. Finally, on August, 11 2017, when Sanders skipped a discovery hearing, he was charged $2,200 in court sanctions. However, according to Smith’s motion, Sanders violated the order and failed to pay. Smith claimed that Sanders further violated the August 11, 2017 order when he failed to produce responses to discovery requests.
However the August 11, 2017 order set another evidentiary hearing on Friday, September 1, 2017, and Judge Ramirez stipulated that “Failure to appear at the hearing will result in sanctions.” According to Smith’s motion, once again, Sanders failed to appear. Thus, on January 9, 2017, Smith filed a motion with Judge Ramirez asking the court to hold Sanders in contempt because of his numerous violations. The motion asks that the court punish Sanders in a manner determined by the court, including entry of default judgment, sanctions, or an award of additional attorney’s fees. It appears likely that Sanders will at least be sanctioned again, but it is also possible that a judgment could be entered against Sanders. However, it seems that this legal battle is far from over considering obtaining an award from Sanders seems as if it will also be a difficult task.