Thomas W. Beasley is best known in Tennessee for having founded Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) (formerly Prison Realty Trust) in Nashville in 1984. His chain of privately owned and operated local, state, and federal prisons today houses 75,000 in 60 facilities and employs 17,000 nationwide.
In 1997, Beasley founded Infrastructure Corporation of America (ICA), also in Nashville. That chain "privatize(d) certain road services traditionally performed by governments."
Beasley also operates at least two for-profit Education Management Organizations (EMOs) in Nashville, a third in Florida, and likely still has an ownership interest in a chain of private colleges.
That venture appears not to have gone very well in recent years.
In 2009, the Georgia ACLU dropped its federal lawsuit against CEP challenging "the inadequate education provided by the (Atlanta-area) school to its students."
Just this year, in February, a Philadelphia-area student has also filed a civil rights-related suit against CEP.
Beasley operates a second EMO, Accelerated Learning Solutions, out of that same Nashville business location.
Accelerated Learning Solutions is on file with the Florida Department of State, too, under the same Nashville address used by the other two EMOs.
As to his forays in higher ed, it is not clear if Beasley himself founded Education Corporation of America (ECA)--although the entity's name is as dull. ECA, which operated in Tennessee until 1994 but which is now headquartered near Birmingham, AL, "owns and operates private accredited colleges across the United States as well as via the Internet."
What is certain is that Beasley served on its Board of Directors as recently as 2004 (per that House Joint Resolution previously cited above). It was in 2004 that ECA was purchased by Chicago-based private equity investment firm Willis Stein & Partners.
Per ECA's site, included among their colleges is the Virgina College chain, at which students may pay $34,000 tuition to earn an associates degree--but VC makes no guarantees as to the transferability of their course credits to four-year universities.
And Wiki says Corrections Corporation of America is a member of ALEC.
If Beasley's yet running any charter schools in Tennessee through these for-profit EMO's, I haven't found them. Please report back if you should.
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