The former provost for N.C. Central University, Dr. Beverly Washington Jones, may have failed to properly register her business with the state, county and city. A Durham city official said Wednesday he sent a notice to Jones to prompt her to file for a business license after inquiries from the Independent Weekly on whether the business was registered.
Jones' education consulting company, Academic Enrichment Services and Systems, is based in Durham with a post-office box and physical office on South Duke Street, according to the company's website and documents at the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. The company is one of many tutoring providers approved by N.C. DPI to give additional help to some students in schools with below-par test scores. Last year, AESS received $29,000 from Durham Public Schools for working with at-risk elementary schoolers.
It was unclear whether the company is a corporation or small private business, and would have been required to file with the N.C. Secretary of State, where the Indy was also unable to find records for the company.
However, the business, regardless of its status, should have notified the city when it formed last year that it was operating out of Durham, said Paul Mason, billing and collections manager for the city's finance department. Certain types of businesses may be exempt under state law from paying local taxes and fees, but at the very least, the business owner or agent is required under local ordinance to notify the city, Mason said. AESS might also have been required to file with the county Register of Deeds, he said.
Mason said he would send a letter dated Wednesday giving the company a month to reconcile the issue.
Jones' attorney, James D. "Butch" Williams declined to answer questions on Jones' behalf after the Indy ran a story last week on Jones' possible involvement in a scandal surrounding a now-defunct NCCU program. ("Students lose in alleged money-skimming scheme at NCCU," July 13, 2011)