Koch puts Oxbridge CEO on leave, pending school probe

Robert Parsons.jpg

Oxbridge Academy President and CEO Robert Parsons is on leave, pending an internal investigation by the school.

Oxbridge Academy, the high school founded by Palm Beach billionaire Bill Koch, placed its president and two other staffers on leave Friday amid a Palm Beach Post investigation into allegations of a toxic employment environment including sexual harassment and high turnover.

In an interview Friday afternoon, Koch said he set in motion “an exhaustive investigation” and placed President and CEO Robert Parsons, bookstore manager and former comptroller Ulle Boshko and one other unidentified staffer on paid leave for an indefinite period, pending investigations by a team that includes an ex-FBI agent, a forensic accountant and a lawyer.

Boshko filed a complaint against the school in November with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging Parsons demoted her to the bookstore when she refused his sexual advances. That case is still pending.

“I am happy to see that Mr. Koch is taking the necessary steps to root out the inappropriate behavior and excessive favoritism that took place at Oxbridge,” Boshko said. “I do understand that Mr. Koch’s interest is to protect the students and the reputation of the school first but hope his moral judgment also protects those who come forward, as I did, to reveal the truth and prevent situations like this from happening in the future.”

Parsons, a former U.S. Naval Academy chief financial officer, was hand-picked by Koch to lead the school and earned $694,000 in 2014, according to the latest public filings by the school. Parsons did not return requests for comment, but at a special board meeting called by Koch on Thursday, “Bob Parsons  responded carefully and comprehensively to each allegation,” according to Oxbridge publicist Carey O’Donnell.

Multiple employees — past and present — have told The Post that a combination of swift and frequent firings, allegations that Parsons favored attractive staff members with attention and steep raises, and a shift in emphasis from academics to athletics have created a fearful, rumor-filled atmosphere for the school staff. The Post plans to publish its report next week.

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