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Connecticut seeks penalties and restitution from Stone Academy

Molly Ingram

Connecticut is suing the owners of Stone Academy, a for-profit nursing school that was quick to close its doors in February after nearly 150 years of operation.

The school had offered programs in East Hartford, Waterbury and West Haven.

“Stone's day of reckoning has come,” said state Attorney General William Tong. “And we are demanding millions of dollars in penalties and restitution for students. Stone and Stone’s leaders alone are responsible for their misconduct and for this crisis, entirely of their own making.”

Tong accused Stone Academy, Paier College and their owner, Joseph Bierbaum, of violating the state’s Unfair Trade Practices Act by the abrupt closure of the school to students.

“Stone promised that it would prepare them to become nurses and it totally failed,” he said.

Students, who paid more than $30,000 for the program, suffered, while Stone’s owners, Beirbaum and Mark Sheinberg, profited by using nearly $1 million of Stone tuition a year to subsidize Paier College expenses, Tong alleged.

“So, while Stone is failing, we don’t have adequate faculty," he said. "We have students without books. We don’t have heat. Students are packed in the classrooms with 50 or more students. They are shifting $1 million to another school."

The lawsuit seeks millions of dollars in penalties and restitution. Tong is asking the court to attach Stone’s and Bierbaum’s assets, including Bierbaum’s Rocky Hill mansion.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.