Fort Collins school employee claims supervisor pressured her to participate in outside business
Woman says she felt like she couldn't refuse
Last Updated: 33 days ago
Fort Collins, CO. - A Poudre School District Employee in Fort Collins is speaking publicly for the first time, claiming pressure from her district supervisor to participate in his outside business at work.
"It was my hiring boss that approached me on district time, in my office," the woman said during an interview with 7NEWS.
The woman asked 7NEWS to conceal her identity and alter her voice on television because she fears retaliation. She says she feels obligated to speak out after a 7NEWS investigation earlier this month.
"I looked at Channel 7's website, looked up the story about the HR issue with Poudre School District and Organo Gold - got about half way in and I went, 'Hey, that happened, that happened to me about this time last year,'" she said.
She says her district supervisor first approached her at work to ask if she was interested in a business opportunity. It was a multi-level direct sales coffee and tea business called Organo Gold.
Independent distributors buy-in, sell the coffee and tea and recruit others to do the same. Organo Gold distributors receive ranks based on their performance in the company. Levels include Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Diamond and Black Diamond.
Investigative Reporter Amanda Kost asked, "Would you say you felt pressured to buy in to Organo Gold?"
"Yes, I would. I would say I felt pressured, I felt like I couldn't say no," the district employee said.
The school district's Executive Director of Human Resources, Chuck DeWayne, is a recognized member of Organo Gold. A picture of both DeWayne and his wife can be seen from outside an Organo Gold facility in Loveland. The couple is featured on the "Sapphire" wall. 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.
In his role within the district, 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 by using his position within the school district for power and personal, financial gain.
The Fort Collins school employee who came forward after 7NEWS' first report was not pressured directly by DeWayne, but she says her boss invited her to attend an off-campus pitch for Organo Gold.
"I listened to the whole pitch and Organo Gold and the pyramid-style business proposition and how I could make it work and how much money I could make," she said.
When she arrived, the employee says she was the only one of her coworkers there and a principal from another school was also in attendance.
"You had your bosses' boss, essentially the hiring manager and a principal, basically tag teaming you here?" Kost asked.
"Yes, I was the only one that showed up, I was told we invited more people but nobody else could come," the woman replied.
She says she declined to sign up as an Organo Gold distributor, but the pressure continued.
"It went to several more times. On different occasions asking me on district time to go to one of their presentations down in Loveland for listening to an inspirational speaker."
Now, the district employee is encouraging others to come forward and put a stop to these multi-level sales in schools.
"This isn't just an HR issue and a principal issue. This reaches throughout the district at every level," she said. "This needs to stop, needs to made loud and clear that this will not tolerated, it can't be tolerated."
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