Theaola Robinson: Longtime Charter School Head Sues KTRK for Libel

Theaola Robinson was, for decades, the head of Benji's, a Fifth Ward facility for special-ed kids that eventually became a charter school.

Last year she retired amid controversy from the Texas Education Agency over its finances; when the TEA tried to close it down, Robinson led a parent protest that got a lot of media attention.

Some of that media attention, it seems, was not appreciated.

Robinson has filed a libel suit against KTRK and its owners, Disney, for reporting that up to $3 million was missing from Benji's accounts.

Robinson says the TEA planted the information with reporters as a way of stifling the protest, but only KTRK went with it.

"The proposition that $3 million in public funds was missing and had been pocketed by Mrs. Robinson...only arose after it became clear that Benji's was not going to 'take it lying down' in regard to the arbitrary and unlawful decision to immediately close the school," the suit says.

The plan, the suit says, "was so cynical in execution and formulation that is is hard to imagine any responsible persons charged with carrying out the public trust with even having thought of it, let alone pursuing it," her lawyers say.

The suit cites a bunch of comments left on the Web sites of KTRK and other media outlets covering the story, all claiming or implying Robinson had taken the money. She says the claims are untrue.

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