School district leader made plans for personal profit through direct-sales business

Union alleges it was a conflict of interest

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - A high level school district administrator outlined a business plan to personally profit in a direct-sales business by leveraging his position within the district, documents obtained by 7NEWS show. The teachers' union alleges this was a conflict of interest and wants him to be fired.

Chuck DeWayne currently serves as the Executive Director of Human Resources for the Poudre School District (PSD) in Fort Collins. In this leadership role, DeWayne sits on the Superintendent's Cabinet. He is charged with overseeing the entire HR Department, which serves more than 4,000 full-and part time PSD employees.

Taxpayers pay DeWayne an annual salary of $141,820, according to school district records.

Documents obtained by 7NEWS uncovered DeWayne's business plan, which outlines how he intended to make even more money.

The document titled "Definite Major Purpose" was edited and shared with multiple people during school hours on his district email account. The text provides a road map for how DeWayne planned to influence student curriculum, fundraising, teacher re-licensure and training while recruiting school district staff for a money making venture. Under step two, the document contains a list of "Personal Requirements" including DeWayne's plans to "Form a Master Mind Alliance with people from Napoleon Hill Foundation, Leadership within Poudre School District, and Organo Gold [sic]."

Organo Gold, also known "OG," is a multi-level coffee and tea direct sales company, with a training facility located in Loveland. The company consists of independent distributors who buy-in, sell OG products and recruit others to do the same. OG distributors receive ranks based on their performance in the company. Levels include Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Diamond and Black Diamond.

A picture of both Chuck DeWayne and his wife can be seen from outside an OG facility in Loveland. The couple is featured on the "Sapphire" wall. 7NEWS also found emails exchanged between DeWayne and his wife detailing their plans to further advance in rank with OG and, in time, make $63 million.

Their Sapphire ranking is just below the Ruby tier, which according to emails from DeWayne's district account, could amount to approximately $8,000 in monthly profits. On Facebook, DeWayne's wife wrote that she had used some of the money to purchase the Cadillac Escalade that her husband poses next to in a public photo album called "COFFEE CADI/BENZ."

In the document titled "The DeWayne's Definiteness of Purpose" the couple outlines their income goals writing, "The exact amount of money we desire is $63,000,000 accumulative by: New Year's Eve December 31, 2020."

"If I was to tell someone that I intend to make $63 million in my position within the school district I think that would be a red flag," said Fran Docherty UniServ Director for the Poudre Education Association, the teachers' union.

"It's a use of your position of power to better your financial situation and to me that's just wrong," said Greg Grote, President of the PEA.

"Executive Director of HR has a position to be able to influence decisions of hiring and firing. Influence decisions that might lead to purchasing his wife's coffee," said Docherty.

7NEWS found a copy of a check that shows the school district paid DeWayne's wife more than $600 for OG coffee, hot chocolate and tea.

In an email obtained by 7NEWS, sent from Chuck DeWayne's district account, "OG," is referred to as, "our business."

"He makes money if other people sell the product that he and his wife are a part of," Grote said.

The school district's policy states, in part, "No employee of the Board shall engage in or have a financial interest, directly or indirectly, in any activity that conflicts or raises a reasonable question of conflict with his duties and responsibilities in the school system."

"We're there to educate students, we're there for our community, we're not there to sell coffee," Docherty said.

In his role with the district, DeWayne oversees employees and their performance evaluations. DeWayne's business plan indicates he wanted to involve other district leadership in the "Master Mind Alliance," and make the district teach a book called "Think and Grow Rich."

Organo Gold is openly linked to the Napoleon Hill Foundation, a private foundation, set up mainly to share Hill's teachings. 7NEWS obtained the foundation's tax records, which show most of its money comes from royalties from books like "Think and Grow Rich."  The text includes chapter titles such as "The Mystery of Sex Transmutation" and "The Six Ghosts of Fear."

"The concern is, a conflict of interest on a scale I never would have imaged for a school district," Docherty said.

The school district purchased 45 copies of "Think and Grow Rich," for a total cost of $432.

Grote said, "We had grave concerns about how this was going to potentially affect the high school teachers' ability in the business classes to teach their classes."

According to district documents obtained by 7NEWS, "Mr. Chuck DeWayne recommended this book for business classes." However, the district has since removed "Think and Grow Rich" from classrooms, acknowledging the text was "not consistent with the current business curriculum."

While the union has filed two grievances, no individual district employee has come forward publically to claim they were pressured by DeWayne.

"People are just concerned and afraid to come forward and step forward because their jobs, their livelihoods are at stake," Docherty said.

7NEWS sent an email to DeWayne's district account requesting an on-camera interview about the union's allegations. Although he never responded directly, an open records request shows he received the message and forwarded it to the district's communications director and several personal email accounts within minutes.

With the interview request unacknowledged, Investigative Reporter Amanda Kost and Producer Jennifer Kovaleski went to the district office to ask their questions.

"Chuck, Amanda Kost with 7NEWS," she said, introducing herself. "Sir you were coming my way before you saw the microphone, I just want to ask you a few questions."

Kost continued and DeWayne started his Cadillac Escalade, "I have your business plan here sir."

She chased the SUV toward the exit saying, "We want you to be able to answer some questions for us here, Chuck. You're in your coffee cadi right now, Chuck."

He did speak about his plans, however, in a YouTube clip entitled "Testimonial video for leader certification - Chuck DeWayne."

"My definite purpose, crystalized for me: It's my journey to be able to share those principals with people in public education starting in my own district in Colorado," he says in the video, which was uploaded in January.

The leadership certification class is a part of the Napoleon Hill Foundation's World Learning Center. It is required to become an instructor within that organization.

When the PEA filed its two grievances against DeWayne, an interim superintendent was in charge with the district. She responded by hiring an outside attorney to investigate.

Citing personnel rules, the district declined to share documents or conclusions from that investigation.

"This all occurred in a power vacuum with an interim superintendent," Docherty said.

Newly-hired superintendent Dr. Sandra Smyser has also declined 7NEWS' multiple requests for an interview about DeWayne and the impact of his business affiliations on the district, calling it a personnel issue.

"Should he be fired? Absolutely I think that - that would be the expected standard," Docherty said.

To date, DeWayne remains the school district's Executive Director of Human Resources. If any action was taken against him, the district will not say.

PSD provided this additional statement about the situation to 7NEWS:

"Whenever administration receives a complaint or allegation pertaining to an employee, including the instance you are asking about, our practice is to investigate the complaint/allegation and take action if necessary. This is how we operate in relation to all employees, including those in senior management. It is important to note that in all instances, including this one, neither staff nor the public would be aware of the outcome because employee privacy laws prohibit us from discussing it."

 

Documents related to this investigation:

-- Emails: http://ch7ne.ws/1fmfgjP

-- Grievances: http://ch7ne.ws/17hNfBU

-- Tax records: http://ch7ne.ws/1hFdDdO

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