New London to question Carter further

New London — Before the Board of Education meets Thursday night to vote on a contract for Terrence P. Carter, its unanimous selection as the city's next superintendent of schools, it will hold a closed-door conference call to question him further about his academic record.

On Monday, the Board of Education canceled its scheduled meeting to vote on Carter's contract "in order to provide Board of Education members with the opportunity to fully clarify and consider recent statements and assertions concerning Terrence Carter," according to a press release issued by the school system.

The Hartford Courant reported Friday that Carter is listed as "Ph.D." or "Dr. Terrence P. Carter" on numerous documents over the past five years, including book jackets, programs for symposiums and Chicago Board of Education publications. Carter has not yet received a doctorate in educational studies.

And, according to court documents, Carter has a history of defaulting on financial obligations and has filed for bankruptcy in two states. His claims, though, were dismissed because he failed to appear at a court-scheduled meeting or file required paperwork.

In a Feb. 3, 2012, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Carter claimed a total of $768,649 in liabilities, including $211,224 in student loan obligations, and reported $338,654 in assets. He listed his average monthly income as $7,134.53 and claimed $4,758 in monthly household expenses, according to documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court's Northern District of Illinois.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows a debtor who earns a regular income to propose a plan to repay debts over a three- or five-year period, according to court documents.

Carter's filing lists 14 creditors, including American Express, Citibank, Sallie Mae and the U.S. Department of Education.

Panos Brothers Construction and Painting, an Illinois-based company listed as a creditor in Carter's 2012 bankruptcy filing, placed a contractor's lien on Carter's Chicago condo in January 2012.

According to forms filed by the company's attorney, Carter hired the company to renovate and paint his Chicago condo but never paid the $18,512 bill.

A copy of the signed contract, which was included in court filings, details the anticipated prices for painting and carpeting three bedrooms, installing engineered wood flooring in a handful of rooms, and other work.

The contract was signed June 30, 2011, and Panos Brothers completed the work by Sept. 8, 2011, documents show. On Nov. 29, 2011, Panos Brothers sent Carter an invoice for the outstanding $18,512.

The bankruptcy case was dismissed by the judge on July 19, 2012, because Carter "failed to file the required documents," according to the court order. Carter's repayment plan was not confirmed by the court and "appears to be unfeasible as the debtors disposable income is less than the proposed plan payments," according to the order.

The contractor's lien on Carter's property was released on Sept. 25, 2013, after he and Panos Brothers agreed to a settlement, according to records from the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

And in 1999, while Carter was living and working in California, he filed paperwork in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court's Northern District of California for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the chapter of the bankruptcy code that allows for the liquidation of the debtor's property to repay creditors.

Court documents show that Carter filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 4, 1999, and was indebted to a number of banks, student loan companies and Saks Fifth Avenue.

On Dec. 22, 1999, the California judge dismissed the case because Carter had failed to appear at a meeting with his creditors, according to the court documents.

In an email Monday, Carter said, "These events are of a personal family matter, and have been settled. They were disclosed to the search and selection committees, and Board of Education."

Board President Margaret Mary Curtin confirmed Monday night that the board was aware of Carter's financial history before selecting him for the superintendent's position.

"We cannot not hire him because of that," she said. "There is a law against that."

When asked if Carter's financial records gave her any cause for concern, Curtin replied that they did not. When pressed further, Curtin declined to comment.

Other Board of Education members on Monday night declined to comment and referred inquiries to Curtin.

On Thursday, the board will meet in executive session at 6:30 p.m. to speak with Carter by phone and then will convene a special meeting at 7:30 p.m. "to consider further action on the superintendent's contract," according to the press release.

c.young@theday.com

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