Schroeder, through his attorney, David S. Mejia, is concerned that a possible "spillover" effect may occur if the two defendants are tried together.
According to the motion, "the potential that evidence against the principle (sic) Defendant [former UofL Education Dean Robert Felner] may inspire transference of guilt from Felner to Schroeder... will deprive Thomas Schroeder of a fair trial if he is not granted a separate trial.
Read Schroeder's Motion to Sever-Misjoinder.
The Defendants were indicted on October 22, 2008, of multiple-counts alleging an 8-year mail fraud conspiracy covering the time period of July 2001 to July 2008. Robert Felner was indicted in his capacity as a Director of School Education and Professor at the University of Rhode Island and thereafter in his capacity as Dean of the College of Education at the University of Louisville. Thomas Schroeder is indicted in his capacity as the incorporator of the National Center on Public Education and Prevention, a non-profit corporation in Illinois.
Felner had obtained contracts to survey and conduct assessments for several school districts: Atlanta (2001-2004); Buffalo and the New York Middle School Association (2002-2007); Santa Monica/Malibu Unified School District (2002-2004). In 2007 the University of Louisville received a No Child Left Behind Act grant, which was administered by Robert Felner as Dean of the College of Education.
Former Superintendent, John Deasy, had given that Malibu contract to Felner. The entire $375,000 amount went to Felner's shell corporation and ultimately ended up in Felner's bank account. Deasy was a Felner colleague from the University of Rhode Island who - after awarding Felner the grant - was gifted a suspiciously quick doctorate under the guidance of Felner. Deasy's dissertation is dated seven months before he even enrolled at UofL. Felner supervised no other doctoral students during his five years at the university. Ray & Associates found nothing troublesome about the doctorate when they presented Deasy as a superintendent candidate to Prince Georges County (Md) schools. UofL quickly declared the doctorate to be proper.
The government's case alleges that from 2001 through 2008 Robert Felner defrauded the numerous educational entities of $2,534,577.00 Of that amount, "Thomas Schroeder received nearly one-tenth" which he says was legitimate income upon which he paid taxes.
"The fact that Thomas Schroeder is alleged to have received approximately 296,000 over eight years in connection with his work at his Illinois non-profit corporation (which he properly reported on his tax returns), while Robert Felner gained nearly two and a half million in fraudulent proceeds, is so great a disparity as to warrant separate trials of these two individuals."
"The indictment alleges Robert Felner – alone – committed repeated acts of tax evasion in the years 2002 through 2007, by his individual failure to report income (fraud proceeds he alone received) totaling $1,478,759.00." ...
Schroeder says he will prove that "the sole person who initiated the negotiations, entered into agreements, fulfilled or failed to fulfill the promises, and who committed the acts of concealment, misrepresentation and fraud was – Robert Felner."
Schroeder claims that Felner screwed him over just like everyone else.
Hat Tip top PageOne Kentucky.