Under scrutiny: Red Wing police are investigating beauty schoolA Red Wing beauty school with a history of controversy is again under legal scrutiny amid accusations of financial misappropriation.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
A Red Wing beauty school with a history of controversy is again under legal scrutiny amid accusations of financial misappropriation.
Red Wing police executed a search warrant Dec. 3 at Allure School of Cosmetology, where computers, files, student records and other items were seized. No arrests were made.
Red Wing police investigator Katie Quinn said she expects a long investigation. She said if any charges are filed, they could come in about a year.
The target of the investigation, a school official who is not being identified since no charges have been filed, is accused of withholding financial aid disbursement overages.
According to a copy of the warrant, a Minnesota State Financial Aid officer visited the school Nov. 24 and spoke with another school official. A determination was made that a $2,998 overage was not paid to an Allure student.
Students apply for loans through the school, the warrant states. Funds are disbursed to the school and any overages are paid to students through the school.
The student reported that the person under investigation pulled her and another student aside and told them they would be “escorted off the premises” if they discussed financial aid.
Other reports contained in the warrant include allegations student records have disappeared.
In another instance, a student reported a loan was taken out in her name without her consent; she said she received a harsh rebuke from the school official when she questioned how the loan was distributed without her knowledge.
The investigation marks the second time in almost five years that the beauty school has come under scrutiny.
Former owner Lachel Bethel in January 2006 unsuccessfully petitioned the Red Wing Port Authority for emergency funding as finances at the school took an apparent nosedive.
The school’s instructors — supported by students — staged a walkout, claiming Bethel had not paid them for weeks. The school was under investigation by the Minnesota Board of Cosmetologist Examiners, which eventually cleared Bethel to reopen the school — then named SunLand School of Cosmetology.
Bethel never reopened the school. Current owners Bill Buysse and Fred Plaas took over the operation later in 2006.