A former employee makes an accusation! Nishi-Azabu, luxury international school in Nishi-Azabu, “unbelievable money situation” with closure troubles. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

A former employee makes an accusation! Nishi-Azabu, luxury international school in Nishi-Azabu, “unbelievable money situation” with closure troubles.

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A luxury international school with annual tuition of about 5 million yen suddenly closes its doors–.

With the closure of X, an international school located in the heart of Nishiazabu (Minato-ku), one of Tokyo’s most exclusive residential areas, the troubles between the founder, Lina Rose, and the parents of about 100 students still show no sign of being resolved.

Exterior view of the school before its closure

The school was forced out of its building by the Tokyo District Court due to non-payment of rent, and after reopening in a temporary school building in a private residence, the school was closed. Some parents have demanded that X return the tuition they paid in advance, and discussions are continuing through their lawyers.

Ms. A, who worked at X as a staff member, testified that X had several financial problems with employees, parents, and vendors in the past.

Lina Rose, founder of the school

“In the two years that I worked there alone, there were multiple unpaid payments to uniform and lunch box vendors, and each time the vendor was replaced. I asked Ms. Rina, ‘You don’t pay for them?’ ‘ I asked her and she laughed for some reason. There were also late payments of employees’ salaries, sometimes two or three months late.

Then suddenly around September of 2019, Ms. Lina told me, ‘We can’t pay everyone’s salary because we don’t have any money. All the foreigners working in the office at the time had quit, and some of the staff had sued X.

When I questioned Mr. Lina as to why he did not have the money when there were so many students, he did not answer me and later sent an e-mail to another staff member saying, ‘He (Mr. A) embezzled company money and spent it, so we cannot pay you. I was beyond outraged and disgusted.”

As a staff member at X, Ms. A also dealt with the parents, and she has seen the troubles between the parents and X up close.

A famous entertainer and his wife were so dissatisfied with the school’s response that they withdrew their child from the school without letting him attend even once, and asked for a refund. The school’s stance is, ‘We basically don’t give refunds at any time. As far as I know, three sets of parents have filed lawsuits before and after the two years I worked there. Each time, they evaded payment, saying, ‘We don’t have any money in our account.’ Even when a child suffered a serious skull fracture due to the school’s mismanagement in 2018, the school refused to give a refund.”

Line sent by Mr. Rina to staff, stating that the late payment of salary was due to Mr. A’s erroneous spending.

While saying that he could not pay because he did not have the money, Mr. A says, “Mr. Rina was a spendthrift and his personal life was extravagant. This, too, seems to have caused a rift between Mr. Rina and the staff.

She loved luxury brands like Chanel and Dior, and she liked to wear Louboutin shoes. She would buy luxury furniture with her credit card and buy two iPads on impulse and say, ‘I’ll make the money later,’ while refusing to pay for school. He once ordered 100 doughnuts for delivery and said he would eat them all. He often traveled to Switzerland and Los Angeles. I think I stayed there for more than a month at times.

Having seen Lina’s dynamic way of spending money, the staff was not satisfied that their salaries were not paid or paid late. She was not an insidious person who bullied the staff, but she could be in a good mood or irritable; she was a different person on different days. The transformation, the ups and downs, was simply terrifying to us.”

Ms. B, a representative of a vendor who had been preparing school lunches for X’s students for about a year and four months until just before the closure, was also angry, saying, “X was repeatedly dishonest with the parents and with us.

A private house that “X” used to temporarily relocate to.

The school was offering 100% organic meals. During our first meeting, we received an order to make 100% organic school lunches for 550 yen per meal. I told them, ‘With this amount, you can do 60%, but 100% is impossible. However, instead of raising the amount, Mr. Rina demanded a price reduction about two months later, saying, ‘Lower the price from 550 yen to 500 yen. The menu consisted mainly of pasta, vegetable side dishes, desserts, and jelly, but I repeatedly protested, ‘Stop claiming to be 100% organic, which is not true. It’s offensive,’ I protested again and again. Nevertheless, for more than a year, the school continued to use the 100% organic claim to advertise the school.”

Mr. B continued to negotiate with the school. However, neither the amount nor the content of the meals improved, and in the meantime, the school stopped paying for the meals, Ms. B continued.

When I told the school that I was not satisfied with their attitude and that I would no longer provide school lunches, Mr. Rina became angry and threatened to sue me both in the U.S. and Japan for putting my child’s life in danger. After that, X was shut down, and three months’ worth of school lunch money remains unpaid. I am at a loss.

Lina at X’s graduation party last year

It is hard to believe, but are the testimonies of the school’s former employees and vendors true? We contacted Mr. Rina on his cell phone several times to confirm the fact that he had not been paid, but received no response.

According to parents whose children attended X, an online parent information session scheduled for mid-June was also canceled.

One of the parents commented, “I don’t know how many times the school has postponed the orientation for school convenience. I really don’t know if they are going to explain, and what should my child do?” He sighed deeply.

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