Woman who bailed out stranded students gets repaid $5k

Posted at 6:36 PM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 18:36:51-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Shawn Scott won a small claims court case today against Kathi Harris for the $5,000 she was owed. Scott said she loaned the money to help students on the verge of being stranded in Washington D.C.

Kathi Harris is the president of the Historically Black College Tour Experience (HBCUTE). The organization takes high school students on a cross-country college tour. Over spring break, Scott volunteered as a chaperone and nurse for that trip. But while the group was in the Washington D.C. area, Scott said the charter bus company refused to travel any further.

"Found out that the charter bus company that we were traveling with hadn't been fully paid. So, they got...the drivers got directions from the owner of the company to cease all travel," Scott said.

To make sure the kids weren't stranded and the trip could continue, Scott loaned Harris $5,000. Scott said she wrote the check directly to the transportation company and was told by Harris she'd be repaid after the trip.

Scott said she became concerned "when she stopped talking to me."

Harris told the magistrate, "I have people calling me now, asking me what's going on with the money. I explained to [Scott] when we get ours, you'll get yours."

"I explained to Ms. Scott that we were still waiting for funds. I cannot make our donors write a check faster than they write a check," Harris said in court.

Well, the wait for Scott is finally over. Harris showed up to court with a cashier's check in hand for $5,000.

Scott told FOX 17, "Obviously I'm happy that I was reimbursed my $5,000. So that was a good thing, and I wish Kathi Harris the best."

"If she's going to continue to do this college tour, I would hope that she would secure all the funding before leaving and going on the road with all these children," Scott added.

Harris told the magistrate the sponsorship checks came in Friday and Monday. She declined to speak with us.

FOX 17 did speak with the vice president of HBCUTE who said sponsorship dollars didn't come in February as expected, but the organization should have done a better job of invoicing and having funds in place before the trip.

Harris still owes just over $104 in court costs.