Two troubled daycares facing eviction

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Parents with children enrolled at Nurturing Young Minds in Hickory Hill and Discovery Learning Academy in the airport area might soon have to find new child care for their kids.

The owner, Senese Duhart, is facing eviction at both locations.

Duhart wasn't there Friday, but News Channel 3 was in court for an initial setting on the Nurturing Young Minds eviction. The hearing was reset for Dec. 7.

James Parker, the attorney for the landlord, said in court, "We`re trying to get service on the people, we did get on the door." Parker wouldn't comment further on the case.

Court records show Duhart owes more than $58,000 in rent at Nurturing Young Minds.

A separate filing in Chancery Court for a Breach of Lease reveals she's behind more than $80,000 at Discovery Learning Academy.

The complaint read, "Daycare has failed to pay the Base Rent...not less than $80, 462.55 through October 11, 2018.

Neither the daycare nor Duhart have responded or filed an answer to the complaint.

Between both centers, Duhart owes landlords almost $140,000.

WREG visited Discovery Learning Academy and an employee who identified herself as an assistant director wouldn't talk about the pending evictions.

News Channel 3 asked how that would that be communicated to parents. She said she had no comment and said Duhart wasn't at the daycare.

However, as WREG was leaving the facility,  our crew spotted Duhart sitting in her office.

News Channel 3 turned back, knocked on the door and said, "She`s in her office."

The employee who'd just said Duhart wasn't there replied, "But that`s fine, she`s with ... she's not on the property right now, discussing with anyone, she's actually in a meeting, okay."

Duhart has dodged News Channel 3's questions before.

Earlier this month, WREG tried to ask about the state revoking her license at Nurturing Young Minds because of so many violations.

In addition, News Channel 3 attempted to ask why workers at Discovery Learning Academy had gone a month without a paycheck.

One employee told us during a recent interview. "Quite frankly now, I'm tired of the explanations, the excuses. All of it. It makes no sense."

The workers were eventually paid, but said they were still missing two weeks worth of pay.

WREG reached out to the Tennessee Department of Human Services. A spokesperson said the department wasn't aware of the pending evictions, but if they were to go through, local staff would be on site at the centers to provide parents with information about alternative care.

Nurturing Young Minds was closed in October due to a fire, so children were moved to Discovery Learning Academy.

There's also a hearing in December for the revocation order issued at Nurturing Young Minds. Records show the center was cited for 27 violations since opening four years ago.

Nurturing Young Minds lost 3-star rating, almost lost license in 2016

Discovery Learning Academy has also been cited for some recent violations in categories such as transportation and equipment for children.

WREG first began investigating Duhart and Nurturing Young Minds in 2017 after an infant suffered chemical burns at the day care.

Regulators found a worker intentionally sprayed the baby's face with cleaning solution. The two workers involved were fired, and were indicted earlier this year for child abuse.

The child's parents also filed a lawsuit against Duhart, the daycare and the former employees.