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Another suit filed against MSU alleging racketeering activity

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A Shepherdstown attorney has filed another federal lawsuit on behalf of a former Mountain State University student accusing the school of racketeering activity.

Sherman Lambert Sr. filed the suit for his client, Adama C. Kargbo, Dec. 19 in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg. Defendants in the suit are former MSU president Charles H. Polk, Mountain State University Inc., MSU Building Company, MSU Foundation Inc. and the MSU Endowment Fund Inc.

This is not the first suit alleging racketeering filed against the university. Lambert has filed approximately 20 other suits on behalf of other former students.

Like Lambert's other clients, Kargbo, a Fairfax, Va. resident, was a former student enrolled in the LPN BSN cohort program. She alleges MSU officials engaged in a "widespread criminal enterprise consisting of a pattern of racketeering activity and a conspiracy to engage in racketeering activity involving numerous racketeering acts during the past 10 calendar years."

Describing Polk as the "leader of the MSU Enterprise," the suit took issue with the former president's salary, saying his 2009 salary was approximately $1,843,746.

The student alleged Polk's salary made up 3.5 percent of MSU's annual budget, "which was the highest percentage received by a president from the annual budget of a private university in 2009," the suit asserts.

Kargbo also alleged the university made false promises to her as she says she completed nursing courses and she cannot transfer the credits to other colleges. She also says she did not graduate with an accredited degree and will not be able to sit for her exams.

She said she "incurred substantial student loans expenses for nothing" and she must pay these loans back.

A similar lawsuit was filed earlier this year by the Skinner law firm in Jefferson County Circuit Court. The suit was filed against Polk, MSU, the MSU Building Co., MSU Foundation Inc. and MSU Endowment Fund and also alleged there was a pattern of racketeering activity and a conspiracy to engage in racketeering in the past 10 years.

Lambert said his cases differ because his clients are "prerequisites." This means that his clients were taking prerequisite classes before taking the nursing courses, as opposed to the other lawsuit where students were already in their majors.

Lambert also said his students were not reimbursed for tuition as opposed other students. 

"Fatouma Kamara is the lead in our case," Lambert explained in a former interview.  "She is the one who came into my office months ago and called this to our attention."