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Principal who owns for-profit sports camp welcomes independent review

Carter Paysinger, principal of Beverly Hills High, says he welcomes a review into the for-profit summer sports camp he owns.

August 19, 2013|By Stephen Ceasar

Carter Paysinger, the principal of Beverly Hills High School, said Monday that he welcomes an independent review called by the Beverly Hills Unified School District into the for-profit summer sports camp he owns.

The review was in response to an article in The Times last week that reported that the Beverly Hills Sports Academy, held on campus, is owned by Paysinger and operated by two school employees.

Parents say they were led to believe that the academy was a mandatory school-sanctioned camp for athletes and that fees would help fund sports teams. Others say they were strongly encouraged by the principal and other administrators to enroll their children to give them a better shot at making teams.

Parents contend that it is a conflict of interest for public school officials to run a business that caters solely to their own students.

Supt. Gary Woods said the Beverly Hills Board of Education requested the review last week.

In his first public statements about the program, Paysinger said the review would provide needed transparency.

"In my thirty-plus years as an educator, school official and employee of the Beverly Hills Unified School District, I have always acted in the best interests of our students and the District…" Paysinger said in a written statement.

Paysinger's attorney, Reed Aljian, said the principal will have no further comment until the review is complete.

The academy charges from $200 to $385 for the monthlong training session and takes in between $60,000 and $70,000 a summer, according to the district. None of the revenue goes toward the athletic teams at Beverly Hills High.

In 1997, the district asked Paysinger to run a summer sports program at the school — which previously had been operated by a local university, according to Aljian.

That year, Paysinger registered the business name Beverly Hills Sports Academy in Los Angeles County, listing himself as owner as recently as 2012. Paysinger is in the process of having his name removed, the district said.

Once Paysinger became an administrator, he gave up day-to-day involvement, Aljian said.

A business tax application — a requirement to do business in Beverly Hills — has never been filed for the academy, according to the city.

Howard Edelman, a physical education teacher and former track and cross-country coach, and Jason Newman, a co-athletic director, handle the day-to-day operations of the camp, which attracts about 300 athletes each summer.

The academy pays about $6,000 to use campus facilities under a state law that gives public access to schools, the district said.

The camp is referred to as "GW Prep Baseball/Beverly Hills Sports Academy" on the program's certificate of liability insurance, which was provided by the district.

GW Prep Baseball Inc., a nonprofit organization, was hired by the academy to provide "accounting-related services," said Jeffrey Hill, GW's chief executive. Hill, an accountant, would not be more specific on what those services entailed.

“We work with the sports academy, providing certain services for them and we get paid for the services,” Hill said. “That’s the extent of the relationship.”

stephen.ceasar@latimes.com

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