Federal Grant Went To Dissolved Corporation, Former UofL Official

LOUISVILLE -- (AP) -- The bulk of a federal education grant that's under investigation went to a non-profit Illinois corporation that was dissolved nearly a year before it got the funding, according to a published report.

The Courier-Journal newspaper reported Friday that the Illinois secretary of state's office confirmed the National Center on Education and Prevention Inc., based in Port Byron, Ill., was dissolved in 2006.

According to documents the newspaper obtained in an open records request, former U of L education dean Robert Felner entered into a $450,000 contract with the center in January 2007 to provide and administer education surveys.

Federal authorities are investigating whether a $694,000 grant administered by Felner was mishandled. The grant was intended to help schools, including those in Kentucky, do better on No Child Left Behind tests.

Local and state education leaders have said they never heard of the grant or the research.

Felner's attorney Scott Cox declined to comment to the paper but has previously denied any wrongdoing by his client.

Felner had accepted the chancellor post at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Wisconsin, but declined the job in June when the federal investigation became public. He left U of L last month.

Agents seized documents from U of L on June 20, and prosecutors said then that a criminal investigation was under way.

The Illinois Secretary of State's office said the corporation, created in 2001, was dissolved after it failed to file a 2005 annual incorporation report.

The man listed as the center's director, Thomas D. Schroeder, did not return calls to the newspaper.

The newspaper also reported the documents showed Schroeder was paid by the University of Louisville from January 2005 until April 2008. University spokesman John Drees said there is no university policy that would prohibit Schroeder from working as Felner's assistant while receiving grant money as the head of the Illinois center.

Felner and Schroeder have known each other since at least the early 1990s, when they worked together on a research project in Illinois.

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