Charter School Co-Founder Faces New Allegations

Lawsuit Accuses Dimitri Snowden Of $45K In Fraud

The co-founder of an Indianapolis charter school is facing new allegations he defrauded schools and small business owners out of thousands of dollars.

6News' Kara Kenney reported Monday that Dimitri Snowden, the co-founder of the Indianapolis-based Paramount School of Excellence, was named in a lawsuit brought by the KIPP Academy, another Indianapolis charter school, which is sponsored by Mayor Greg Ballard and funded by public tax dollars.

The school accuses Snowden and his information technology company, Ion360, of breach of contract, fraud and deception totaling $45,796 in damages.

The Paramount School of Excellence also contracted with Snowden's company, but fired him and is now seeking legal action.

Nicole Hatfield, a small-business owner, told Kenney on Thursday that she paid Snowden $1,300 to build her website for her company, Nycole Naturals, but he failed to deliver.

"He was supposed to build a complete website for me, including the verbiage and the pictures, and deliver a good-quality logo, and that he did not do," Hatfield said. "When I was ready to go finish the information for the website, I couldn't get a hold of him. He didn't answer my calls. He would not return my calls. He would not return my e-mails."

Hatfield said she thought she was alone until she saw 6News' story Monday and realized Snowden had been accused of victimizing others.

"It's very unfortunate, because, as a small-business owner, we don't have the capital to go out and just shell out money," Hatfield said.

Tom Wagenhauser with Indy IT Professionals said small-business owners should always ask for references, certifications and accreditations before doing business with a Web company.

"Social media is a great tool to get some background on people. (The website) LinkedIn is one of the places I tell people to go," Wagenhauser said.

Hatfield acknowledged that she should have done more research and hopes others will learn.

"As a small-business owner, you have to see their portfolio and really investigate whether they're a legitimate company, which is something I didn't really do," Hatfield said.

Ion360 is listed as a member of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. The chamber refused to comment on Snowden's membership due to the ongoing lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit brought by KIPP, Ion360 pressured the school to purchase products and services it did not need and could not afford and failed to provide the promised "responsive service and rapid resolution" to technology issues and problems.

It's unclear whether KIPP Charter Academy investigated Snowden prior to hiring him.

"Due to the ongoing litigation, neither I nor the school leadership and staff are able to provide any further statement about the claims set forth in the complaint at this time," said the school's attorney, Jacob Cox. "We hope KIPP Indy will be able to obtain swift and just resolution of its claims through the judicial process."

Snowden was not at his home or office when 6News attempted to reach him for comment.

More Information: KIPP Lawsuit