By: Lanetra Bennett
July 22, 2013
Tallahassee, FL - Two day care owners are accused of failing to do proper background checks on their employees.
The couple is now accused of getting more than half a million dollars they should have never received.
Noah's Ark Christian Academy used to welcome children at 2011 South Monroe Street in Tallahassee.
It's closed now and its owners are under arrest for grand theft.
Court documents show that Kenneth and Marie Bryant did not do proper background checks on all their employees and therefore were never entitled to receive $526,586.30 from the Early Learning Coalition.
The Coalition's C.E.O., Matt Guse, says, "Every dollar that we spend in these programs are taxpayers' dollars. We have a responsibility as a coalition to make sure that taxpayers' dollars are being used the way they're intended to be used."
Guse says the investigation started when red flags were raised in October 2011. He says the owners of the day care closed the center voluntarily in October 2012.
The Bryants were arrested Sunday, July 21, 2013.
Records show only 22 out of 37 employees had Level 2 background screening. Furthermore, one employee had never been screened, one was not screened upon re-employment, and 13 employees were not screened within the mandated time period.
Tallahassee resident Shateirra Hatcher has a son who attends a day care that is a client of the Early Learning Coalition. She says, "It makes you feel safer now to know that that's one less facility that you have to worry about your children going to and not knowing what happens. At day cares, they change the kids, they feed the kids. You never know what anyone's doing to your kids."
The Florida Department of Children and Families says there were two child care facilities named "Noah Ark Christian Academy", one at 2011 S. Monroe St and one at 101 E 4th Ave. Both were Religious Exempt facilities and both are closed.
Noah Ark Christian Academy, 2011 S Monroe St, was opened 11-14-2006 and closed 10-22-12.
Noah Ark Christian Academy #2, 101 E 4th Ave was opened 11-09-10 and closed on 10-22-12.
WCTV was not able to reach Kenneth and Marie Bryant's attorney for comment.