Epsom Montessori school files for bankruptcy
Pathfinders Academy, a private Montessori school in Epsom owned by a Free State Project sympathizer, filed for bankruptcy protection Aug. 27 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manchester.
The academy's owner, Wayne Anderson of Manchester, also filed on behalf of Pathfinder Real Estate LLC, which owned the 3.5-acre mixed-used property that was scheduled to go up for auction next week.
A parent who is suing the school in small claims court said that parents were aware that the school was closing at the end of the summer, but the Aug. 27 bankruptcy filing was news to him.
Pathfinder Academy LLC owes $257,243 to its creditors and reports only $12,967 in assets, primarily accounts receivable. The real estate company's assets are valued at $610,000, with liabilities of $598,164, according to the filing.
Pathfinder's website and phone number are no longer functioning. Attempts to reach Anderson and his attorney were not successful.
Anderson, who is listed as a liaison for the "objectivist" group on the Free State website, had been running the school since 2001 in order to counter what he called mainstream misrepresentation of American history, Anderson told the Concord Monitor in 2003 at a Free State convention in Lancaster, before the organization named New Hampshire as the small state to encourage members to move to in order to influence it in a libertarian direction.
"The current education system is designed to indoctrinate children into socialism," Wayne Anderson told the Monitor. "We teach about the principles of liberty and the heroic nature of how America was founded."
The school grew for the first six years, according to a separate 2010 Monitor article about the woes of private schools, peaking at an enrollment of 75 students in 2007. But enrollment dropped by about 10 students a year over the next four years. Anderson blamed both the economy and a surplus of regulations, according to the Monitor.
The school brought in $295,000 in 2010, $221,000 in 2011 and $61,000 so far this year, according to the bankruptcy filing. The school netted about $6,000 in those three years, and has only $123 in its checking account, the filing said.
Wayne Anderson and co-owner Julie Anderson withdrew about $2,000 during the last year for living expenses, after "putting their own personal funds into the business to keep it operational," according to the filing.
Wayne and Julie Anderson claim the company owes them $100,000.In the summer, the school sold $13,675 of equipment and material to the Mills Falls Charter School, a public Montessori school on William Loeb Drive in Manchester, leaving about $844 worth of materials, furniture and textbooks.
The bankrupt school owes $48,500 to Laconia Savings bank, $28,000 to Citizens Bank, $41,000 in credit card purchases, about $14,000 to the Internal Revenue Service and $4,500 in oil bills, according to the filing.
The real estate entity — which consists of a building at 59 Sawyer Ave where the school is located and is owned by Wayne and Julie Anderson — got $115,000 in rent during that three-year period, according to a separate bankruptcy filing. The LLC was trying to sell the property for $600,000, and Laconia Savings holds a $558,000 mortgage on it, according to the filing. It also owes almost $39,000 in property taxes to Epsom.