MARLBORO — Seth Andrew, who is out on a $500,000 bond on charges of money laundering, is asking a federal judge for permission to move from Marlboro to Rhode Island.
According to documents filed in the federal court of the Southern District of New York, Andrew’s attorneys have requested a modification of the bail conditions imposed by the court on April 27. Andrew is co-founder of Democracy Builders, which bought the campus of Marlboro College last year.
“Under the terms of his release, Mr. Andrew must remain within the District of Vermont, where he currently resides, except for attorney visits and court appearances,” wrote Edward Y. Kim, of Krieger Kim & Lewin, in the modification request. “Mr. Andrew, who has been fully compliant with the terms of his release, intends to relocate his family to a home in Rhode Island and anticipates that such a move will require several trips between Vermont and Rhode Island over the course of a few weeks.”
Andrew’s bond was secured with property owned by his wife, Lana Zak, and two others.
Andrew and his wife both had to surrender their passports to the court.
Kim noted that upon completion of the move, which should happen on or about June 7, his bail conditions will also need to be modified to restricting his travel to Rhode Island, except for travel to the Southern District of New York for attorney visits and court appearances.
Democracy Builders, which owns the campus on Potash Hill in Marlboro, had no comment on whether Andrew is still living in a Democracy Builders-owned home.
Andrew’s attorneys also had no comment.
On the morning of April 27, Andrew was arrested and cited with wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements to a financial institution.
According to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Southern New York, Seth Andrew allegedly stole $218,005 from Democracy Prep, the charter school network that he founded in 2005. Andrew left Democracy Prep in 2013 to take a job with the United States Department of Education and also served as a senior adviser in the Office of Educational Technology at the White House.
In June 2020, Andrew co-founded a new venture, Democracy Builders, on the campus of Marlboro College. Democracy Builders bought the campus for $225,000 in cash and the assumption of $1.5 million debt the college owed to the Marlboro Music Festival. Following the sale of the campus, Marlboro College closed and merged with Emerson College in Boston. Democracy Builders established Degrees of Freedom on the campus, launching “a new model of higher education, where high school students can earn college credit, and high school/GED graduates can get the boost they need to access, competitive colleges and well-paid careers.”
“Upon learning of the allegations against Mr. Andrew, the [Democracy Builders] board of directors held an emergency meeting to remove Mr. Andrew from his position as board chair and restrict his access to all financial accounts and resources effective immediately,” stated Marcellina Blow-Cummings on behalf of the Democracy Builders’ board in an email to the Reformer on April 27. “The board of directors takes its fiduciary role and responsibilities seriously and will ensure that contributions made to Democracy Builders Fund are used for the mission and intended purposes of Democracy Builders and its various projects and programs.”
Degrees of Freedom, which hoped to welcome its first group of students this fall, has postponed its opening until 2022.