Originally created 01/24/04

School founder files Chapter 7



The founder of a Christian academy that shut down last month has filed for bankruptcy to protect himself from the school's parents and teachers.

Pete Meadows, who opened Northpoint Academy in 2002, filed Wednesday for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which allows a person to get rid of most debts by liquidating assets. Mr. Meadows blamed his critics for making it impossible for him to raise the money he owes.

"They shot themselves in the foot," Mr. Meadows said Friday. "There are people out there that deserve the money. I'm going to step up and try to pay them. I'm not running from it. But when they go on TV (and complain), they went from the top of the list to the bottom. It might be 60 years before they get their money."

He said he owed $15,000 in rent to First Family Church of Augusta on Warren Road, which housed the school, but he gave it books and computers in lieu of payment.

He said he still owes between $30,000 and 40,000 in teacher's salaries. That has become the major concern of his critics, who Mr. Meadows said are led by the former headmaster, the Rev. John Arthur.

"I told him, if his people will leave us alone, we'll try to get it settled," Mr. Meadows said. "John Arthur tried to pull a coup on me. Most of the people trying to cause us problems were doing so at his prodding."

Reached Friday night, the former headmaster said that was untrue.

"He's lied to me, he's lied to all his teachers and he's been avoiding me," the Rev. Arthur said. "I never broke any (agreement). He said he would pay us back at the end of January with interest. I never put anybody up to do anything."

But he said the fight for his money is not over.

"I'm going to do everything I can to regain the money he owes me and the teachers," the Rev. Arthur said. "We worked hard for that money."

Reach Josh Katzowitz and Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 824-0851.