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IN THE MATTER OF JESODE            Docket No. 94-15-ST
HATORAH,                        Student Financial
            Respondent.            Assistance Proceeding
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DECISION

Appearances:        Richard A. Finkel, Esq., Meissner, Kleinberg & Finkel, for Jesode Hatorah.

            Russell B. Wolff, Esq., Office of the General Counsel, for the Office of Student Financial Assistance Programs, United States Department of Education.

Before:        Judge Richard F. O'Hair

    On December 30, 1993, the Office of Student Financial Assistance Programs (SFAP) of the U.S. Department of Education (Department) issued a Notice of Intent to Terminate and Fine against Jesode Hatorah. SFAP sought to terminate the eligibility of Jesode Hatorah to participate in the student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). 20 U.S.C. § 1070 et seq. and 42 U.S.C. § 2751 et seq. SFAP also sought to fine the school in the amount of $1,137,500.

    In In re Bliss College, Docket No. 93-15-ST, U.S. Dep't of Educ. (Decision of the Secretary) (February 23, 1994), the Secretary vacated as moot the initial decision of the administrative law judge in a termination and fine action because the institution had permanently closed. In his initial decision, the judge terminated Bliss' participation in Title IV programs, but did not impose a fine. The Secretary vacated the initial decision, noting that "a case is moot when a determination is sought on a matter which, when rendered, cannot have any practical effect on the existing controversy." Bliss at 1 (quoting Leonhart v. McCormick, 395 F. Supp. 1073, 1077 (1975)).

    Following Bliss, subsequent decisions have dismissed termination and fine actions when the school had closed, even though SFAP was seeking a fine as well as termination. In the Matter of Fischer Technical Institute, Docket No. 92-141-ST, U.S. Dep't of Educ. (March 1, 1994); In the Matter of Draughon Business College, Docket No. 92-94-ST, U.S. Dep't of Educ. (March 4, 1994); In the Matter of Spencer College, Docket No. 93-27-ST, U.S. Dep't of Educ. (March 9, 1994).

    The present case is factually very similar to Bliss and its progeny. In the present proceeding, SFAP is seeking both termination and a reduced fine of $1,125,000. As SFAP notes at footnote 2 of its initial brief, however, Jesode Hatorah has closed (see In the Matter of Jesode Hatorah, Docket No. 94-54-ST, U.S. Dep't of Educ. (July 26, 1994) (Order granting Consent Motion for Dismissal on Mootness Grounds)). Therefore, in accordance with Bliss, I find the present proceeding to be moot. Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the above-captioned proceeding is dismissed as moot.

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                             Judge Richard F. O'Hair
                        

Issued: December 6, 1994
    Washington, D.C.



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                     S E R V I C E
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A copy of the attached initial decision was sent by CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED to the following:

Richard A. Finkel, Esq.
Meissner, Kleinberg & Finkel
275 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016

Russell B. Wolff, Esq.
Office of the General Counsel
U.S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-2110