School sues insurer over payment

Runnemede School in Plainfield is suing its insurance company for not paying a claim of more than $144,000 for embezzled funds.

The suit, which moved to federal court last week, claims that Joanne Evarts, who ran the private school, and her husband Jeremiah Evarts, who ran the high school, “systematically looted the school’s assets” since 2002 by writing checks to themselves.

The Evartses might have taken even more money, but many financial records have either been destroyed or are in the hands of the Sullivan County attorney, who is investigating the actions of the Evartses.

The board fired the Evarts in April, mainly over the couple’s accounts of criminal charges faced by Jeremiah Evarts and his son five years ago, but also because of allegations of fiscal mismanagement. The state Department of Labor had cited the school because it bounced checks to four employees.

In the suit, Runnemede (or its legal entity, River Valley Country Day School) says that Maryland Casualty Company, based in Schaumburg, Ill., has reimbursed the school $10,000, without any written explanation as to why it would not pay the full claim.

Orally, company representatives told school officials that they were treating the losses as a single occurrence, which limits the amount the school could claim, the suit says. The school is claiming there were 116 checks, and all should be treated as a separate occurrence, entitling the school to the full amount. – BOB SANDERS

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