Bios for Ward, Nu-Juice raise questions

The bid submitted by Nu-Juice officials to the Philadelphia School District in 2010 for the work with "persistently dangerous" schools such as West Philadelphia High School includes statements that are either incorrect or impossible to confirm.

Among the statements are that Nu-Juice founder Eric Ward was awarded a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College. Ward attended Swarthmore from the fall of 1971 until spring of 1973, but didn’t graduate, according to a school spokeswoman.

His resume also states Ward was, from 1991 to 1994, president of Entertainment Company Diamond where he "managed and successfully marketed recording artists, talent showcases and concerts in the eastern corridor of the United States." Ward was incarcerated at Allenwood federal prison in Central Pennsylvania from late 1991 to April 1993.

Meanwhile, the RFP includes a list of 16 partnerships that the company says it has formed with organizations and colleges around the region. However, representatives from at least 11 local universities, colleges and groups told the Daily News that it had no partnership with Nu-Juice.

Joel Avery, a spokesman for the nonprofit, said "Nu Juice formed these partnerships primarily through specific representatives of these institutions such as instructors, professors, program directors and student activities coordinators. It is quite possible that the press offices or human resources departments of these institutions may have never known these relationships ever existed," Avery said.

Nu-Juice also said in its RFP to the school district that it had partnered with Harriton High School in the Lower Merion School District to establish an "Ambassadors’ Club" and a dual enrollment business degree program with the Penn State Brandywine Campus.

Douglas Young, spokesman for Lower Merion, said he checked with several departments in the school and "not only do they not have a partnership with us, we also looked [and] we haven’t identified a single transaction with a company called Nu-Juice."

According to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed in 2010 by Beslindora Goree, a Lower Merion School District teacher who claims she was passed over for a promotion because of her race, Nu-Juice gave Goree a contact for someone at Penn State, who helped set up the dual-enrollment program.

Fernando Gallard, a spokesman for the Philadelphia School District, said that verifying information in RFPs is "common sense." Yet, it appears that district officials failed to do so.

"[School] policy requires that managers of programs and managers of contracts, if they’re going to hire someone, that they double-check references," Gallard said.

"I can’t tell you why or why not or if they did or did not. That is a requirement and there’s an expectation that you check the references if someone says they did X somewhere else ... That’s part of the due diligence."