Epic virtual charter schools management company has been fined $500,000 for its now dismissed defamation lawsuit against Senator Ron Sharp.
The half-a-million dollar fine is a sanction under Oklahoma's anti-SLAPP lawsuit regulations. SLAPP protection laws are designed to prevent parties from stifling free speech through litigation. Epic's non-profit management company will also pay Sharp's $36,000 legal fees.
The lawsuit came about because the company said Sharp defamed them while critiquing the school's practices.
Epic is currently the subject of a criminal probe and a state audit. The school and its management company are being investigated for racketeering and embezzlement.
But amid the coronavirus pandemic, Epic has seen explosive growth and is now the largest school district in the state with more than 40,000 students.
School leaders deny all the allegations and have vowed to appeal the fines.