Commitments and Contingencies
|12 Months Ended|
Apr. 30, 2019
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]|
|Commitments and Contingencies||
Note 11. Commitments and Contingencies
On September 18, 2017 the Company signed a six year lease for its corporate headquarters in New York, NY commencing December 1, 2017. The rent amount is $186,060 per year, subject to an increase annually, and is payable at a rate of $15,505 per month. Related to this lease the Company produced a security deposit of $32,500, which is included in other assets and security deposits on the accompanying consolidated balance sheet.
On December 17, 2018 the Company entered into an agreement to terminate the New York lease and replace it with a new lease for a larger office within the same location. The new lease is for five years commencing on February 15, 2019. The rent is $325,882 per year, subject to an increase annually, and is, payable at a rate of $27,157 per month. Related to this lease the Company produced an additional security deposit of $21,814, which is included in other assets and security deposits on the accompanying consolidated balance sheet.
In October 2018, the Company signed a 62 month lease beginning October 1, 2018 and expiring on December 31, 2023 for our office located in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. The monthly base rent is $13,241 CAD which is approximately $10,100 USD.
The Company leased office space for its developers in Dieppe, New Brunswick, Canada under a three year agreement commencing March 1, 2017. The monthly rent payment is $4,367 CAD which is approximately $3,200 USD. This lease was terminated on March 31, 2019.
The Company leases office space for its Denver, Colorado location under a two year lease commencing January 1, 2017. The monthly rent payment was $10,756. This lease was extended for twelve months, through December 31, 2019. The monthly base rent is $11,028.
On December 5, 2017 the Company signed a 92 month lease with Sky Harbor Tower, for the campus located in Phoenix, Arizona. The operating lease granted eight initial months of free rent and had a monthly rent of $66,696, subject to and increases after 12 months. Related to this lease the Company produced a security deposit of $519,271, which is included in other assets and security deposits on the accompanying consolidated balance sheet.
On February 1, 2016, the Company entered into a 64-month lease agreement for its call center in Phoenix, Arizona. The operating lease granted four initial months of free rent and had a monthly base rent of $10,718 and then increases 2% per year after. This facility was vacated and staff was moved to the Sky Harbor Tower. As the Company continues to grow this may be used for additional expansion space.
United States Universitys lease commenced July 1, 2016 and expires on June 30, 2022. The initial monthly base rent was $51,270 for the first 10 months and increases each year.
The following is a schedule by years of future minimum rental payments required under operating leases that have initial or remaining noncancelable lease terms in excess of one year as of April 30, 2019.
Rent expense for the years ended April 30, 2019 and 2018 were $2,278,642 and $853,145, respectively.
From time to time, the Company enters into employment agreements with certain of its employees. These agreements typically include bonuses, some of which may or may not be performance-based in nature.
From time to time, we may be involved in litigation relating to claims arising out of our operations in the normal course of business. As of April 30, 2019, except as discussed below, there were no other pending or threatened lawsuits that could reasonably be expected to have a material effect on the results of our operations and there are no proceedings in which any of our directors, officers or affiliates, or any registered or beneficial shareholder, is an adverse party or has a material interest adverse to our interest.
On February 11, 2013, Higher Education Management Group, Inc., (HEMG) and its Chairman, Mr. Patrick Spada, sued the Company, certain senior management members and our directors in state court in New York seeking damages arising principally from (i) allegedly false and misleading statements in the filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) and the DOE where the Company disclosed that HEMG and Mr. Spada borrowed $2.2 million without board authority, (ii) the alleged breach of an April 2012 agreement whereby the Company had agreed, subject to numerous conditions and time limitations, to purchase certain shares of the Company from HEMG, and (iii) alleged diminution to the value of HEMGs shares of the Company due to Mr. Spadas disagreement with certain business transactions the Company engaged in, all with Board approval.
On December 10, 2013, the Company filed a series of counterclaims against HEMG and Mr. Spada in the same state court of New York. By order dated August 4, 2014, the New York court denied HEMG and Spadas motion to dismiss the fraud counterclaim the Company asserted against them.
While the Company has been advised by its counsel that HEMGs and Spadas claims in the New York lawsuit is baseless, the Company cannot provide any assurance as to the ultimate outcome of the case. Defending the lawsuit maybe expensive and will require the expenditure of time which could otherwise be spent on the Companys business. While unlikely, if Mr. Spadas and HEMGs claims in the New York litigation were to be successful, the damages the Company could pay could potentially be material.
In November 2014, the Company and Aspen University sued HEMG seeking to recover sums due under two 2008 Agreements where Aspen University sold course materials to HEMG in exchange for long-term future payments. On September 29, 2015, the Company and Aspen University obtained a default judgment in the amount of $772,793. This default judgment precipitated the bankruptcy petition discussed in the next paragraph.
On October 15, 2015, HEMG filed bankruptcy pursuant to Chapter 7. As a result, the remaining claims and Aspens counterclaims in the New York lawsuit are currently stayed. The bankrupt estates sole asset consists of 208,000 shares of AGI common stock, plus a claim filed by the bankruptcy trustee against Spadas brother and a third party to recover approximately 167,000 shares. The Company filed a proof of claim against the bankruptcy estate which included approximately $670,000 on the judgment and approximately $2.2 million from the misappropriation. The other creditor is a secured creditor which alleges it is owed the principal amount of $1,200,000. AGI alleges that because HEMG, a Nevada corporation, had failed to pay annual fees to Nevada it lacked the legal authority to create the security interest and that AGI has priority. In February 2019, the bankruptcy court dismissed the Companys misappropriation claim leaving its judgment and a $200,000 claim that HEMG fraudulently failed to disclose $200,000 of notes payable.
The Companys subsidiaries, Aspen University and United States University, are subject to extensive regulation by Federal and State governmental agencies and accrediting bodies. In particular, the Higher Education Act (the HEA) and the regulations promulgated thereunder by the DOE subject the subsidiaries to significant regulatory scrutiny on the basis of numerous standards that schools must satisfy to participate in the various types of federal student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the HEA.
On August 22, 2017, the DOE informed Aspen University of its determination that the institution has qualified to participate under the HEA and the Federal student financial assistance programs (Title IV, HEA programs) and set a subsequent program participation agreement reapplication date of March 31, 2021.
USU currently has provisional certification to participate in the Title IV Programs due to its acquisition by the Company. The provisional certification allows the school to continue to receive Title IV funding as it did prior to the change of ownership.
The HEA requires accrediting agencies to review many aspects of an institution's operations in order to ensure that the education offered is of sufficiently high quality to achieve satisfactory outcomes and that the institution is complying with accrediting standards. Failure to demonstrate compliance with accrediting standards may result in the imposition of probation, the requirements to provide periodic reports, the loss of accreditation or other penalties if deficiencies are not remediated.
Because our subsidiaries operate in a highly regulated industry, each may be subject from time to time to audits, investigations, claims of noncompliance or lawsuits by governmental agencies or third parties, which allege statutory violations, regulatory infractions or common law causes of action.
Return of Title IV Funds
An institution participating in Title IV Programs must correctly calculate the amount of unearned Title IV Program funds that have been disbursed to students who withdraw from their educational programs before completion and must return those unearned funds in a timely manner, no later than 45 days of the date the school determines that the student has withdrawn. Under the DOE regulations, failure to make timely returns of Title IV Program funds for 5% or more of students sampled on the institution's annual compliance audit in either of its two most recently completed fiscal years can result in the institution having to post a letter of credit in an amount equal to 25% of its required Title IV returns during its most recently completed fiscal year. If unearned funds are not properly calculated and returned in a timely manner, an institution is also subject to monetary liabilities or an action to impose a fine or to limit, suspend or terminate its participation in Title IV Programs.
Subsequent to a compliance audit, in 2015, Educacion Significativa, LLC (ESL) the predecessor to USU recognized that it had not fully complied with all requirements for calculating and making timely returns of Title IV funds (R2T4). In 2016, ESL, the predecessor to USU, had a material finding related to the same issue and is required to maintain a letter of credit in the amount of $71,634 as a result of this finding. The letter of credit was been provided to the Department of Education by AGI since it assumed this obligation in its purchase of USU. This letter of credit expired in early 2019 and the cash is expected to be returned.
USU also was asked to post a new letter of credit for $255,708, which was funded by AGI in April 2019 and was also notified that it would be required to follow Heightened Cash Management 1, which requires that funds to students be sent earlier. USU is waiting for formal notification from the DOE.
Delaware Approval to Confer Degrees
Aspen University is a Delaware corporation. Delaware law requires an institution to obtain approval from the Delaware Department of Education (Delaware DOE) before it may incorporate with the power to confer degrees. The Delaware DOE granted full approval to operate with degree-granting authority in the State of Delaware until July 1, 2020. Aspen University is authorized by the Colorado Commission on Education to operate in Colorado as a degree granting institution.
USU is also a Delaware corporation and received initial approval from the Delaware DOE to confer degrees through June 2023.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://fasb.org/us-gaap/role/ref/legacyRef