Ogdensburg school district gets $10,000 donation from NASCAR executive
Sunday, December 24, 2017 - 6:24 pm

By THOMAS LUCKIE III

OGDENSBURG – A year-end donation of $10,000 from James France was approved by the Ogdensburg City School District at Monday’s meeting.

The board previously approved two donations made by France totaling $15,000 at a meeting on Monday, Sept. 18.

France, who is the executive vice president of NASCAR, has been at the center of allegations made by Andrew Ashley, the disgruntled parent of a recently graduated Ogdensburg Free Academy student.

Over the course of several school board meetings, Ashley claimed that France and Ogdensburg Free Academy High School Principal Cynthia Tuttle overstepped boundaries and bypassed his parental authority in regards to his son. France is the maternal grandfather of Ashley’s son.

Ashley filed a legal complaint against France, Random Burnett, Amy France Helton and John Ashley Jr. in St. Lawrence County Court on Monday, Nov. 13.

Although Tuttle was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, her actions are included as part of the complaint.

Ashley claims “that since Nov. 1999 until the present, Defendant Jim France, using his considerable wealth, has consistently and continuously attempted to control, impede and/or disrupt nearly every aspect of the plaintiff’s life.”

According to court documents, France’s attorney Burnett, Amy France Helton and John Ashley Jr. have acted in concert to aid France in “his seemingly unending quest to control, impede and/or disrupt nearly every aspect of the plaintiff’s life.”

The documents also state that Tuttle removed Ashley from the school’s email database without his consent and also encouraged and gave “permission” to Ashley’s son to not return home for three nights.

Ashley also claims that Burnett attempted to violate attorney-client privilege between Ashley and his own attorney Christopher Nye in regards to a custody dispute involving his son’s mother Amy Helton France.

The documents also claim that John Ashley Jr., who is Ashley’s brother, received payments in order to defame Andrew.

School district policy states that the Board of Education should approve or reject all donations received by the district. Board vice president Michael Myers voted against the donation, which was approved with a 4-1 vote. Board members Vicky Peo, James King, Renee Grizzuto and Laurie Zweifel were not present at the meeting.

The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 16.