Agora, based in Devon, provides online instruction to 4,400 students statewide in their homes. The school is fighting efforts by the state to revoke its charter on the ground that the board violated the school's operating agreement by contracting with Cynwyd, Brown's education-management company.
Cynwyd then subcontracted with K12 for management, financial and technology services.
In June, Cynwyd sued K12, alleging that the for-profit company had breached its contract.
Lawyer Clifford E. Haines of Haines & Associates, who represents Brown and Cynwyd, filed the motion for a gag order on the day The Inquirer reported that K12 had filed its response to that suit, along with a counterclaim naming Brown and the Agora board of trustees.
In its filing, K12 accused Brown of retaliating for failing to present a "united front" in the face of state and federal investigations.
K12 also alleged that Brown and the Agora board conspired to file multiple lawsuits with the aim of intimidating the Pennsylvania Department of Education into approving $2 million in payments to Cynwyd even though the company performed little work for Agora. The firm previously was paid $2.6 million.
Noting that the Inquirer article included a comment from a K12 attorney, the Haines filing argues that a gag order would "avoid unfairly tarnishing the reputation or motives" of Brown while litigation is pending. The order also would prevent the jury pool from possibly being tainted by "inflammatory comments" from those involved in the suit and their attorneys, the documents sayd.
Agora is among several area charter schools under federal investigation in a widening criminal probe. The school has received two federal subpoenas requesting all financial documents, including records related to Agora's contract with Cynwyd.
Contact staff writer Martha Woodall at 215-854-2789 or email@example.com.