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Company staffing counselors for at-risk students suspends business in Florida

MCUSA subject of previous I-TEAM investigation over claims of unpaid wages

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.Update 4/7/21: News4Jax has removed the name of the MCUSA owner. Court documents show the case against the owner was dismissed.

Motivational Coaches of America, or MCUSA, which provided in-school counseling for at-risk students across Florida, has surrendered its authority to do business in the state, the I-TEAM has learned.

MCUSA placed behavioral health counselors in Duval, Clay and St. Johns county schools to mentor students with various issues, including mental health and substance abuse.

The I-TEAM reported on MCUSA in July after local counselors, which the company calls coaches, complained that the Miami-based company wasn't paying them their wages, amounting to thousands of dollars.

A class-action lawsuit was filed and Attorney General Pam Bondi's office launched an investigation into MCUSA for Medicaid fraud. Bondi's office said Wednesday that investigation is ongoing.

The I-TEAM has just learned that the business has closed.

According to a document filed with the Florida Secretary of State, MCUSA will "hereby voluntarily surrender their authority to transact business or conduct affairs in Florida."

The company made news statewide in February after the school shooting in Parkland, when it announced it was sending counselors to offer emotional support to students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Not long after that, MCUSA was served with a lawsuit filed by Tampa-based lawyer Scott Terry representing more than 20 of the company's coaches.

The coaches alleged MCUSA, which is paid through Medicaid, refused to pay them wages they were owed, in some cases thousands of dollars.

Terry told the News4Jax I-TEAM that MCUSA settled with his clients and paid them their salaries.

After our I-TEAM investigation, Clay County and St. Johns County severed their ties with MCUSA.

A spokesperson for the Duval County school system said MCUSA is not active in any of their schools, but there are plans for them to be active again within several schools as early as this month.

The Duval County school system has yet to tell us how this is possible since MCUSA has withdrawn its application to do business in Florida.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.