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Iowa District sues new Oswego superintendent

Matthew Wendt

Matthew Wendt

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Updated: August 20, 2012 11:49AM

The School Board in Ankeny, Iowa, has sued new Oswego Superintendent Matthew Wendt alleging fraud.

The Ankeny school district filed suit Tuesday in the Polk County District court asking the court to make null and void Wendt’s separation contract that includes a $176,000 transition allowance.

The suit alleges that Wendt induced the Ankeny School Board to offer him the severance package fraudulently by failing to inform the district he had a pending job offer in Oswego while negotiations were underway.

Wendt was offered the superintendent position in Oswego on May 23, according to the suit. On May 24, he began negotiations for a severance package with the Ankeny School District.

According to the suit, both the Ankeny School Board president and its lawyer asked Wendt if he had another job offer prior to the board approving the severance package. The suit alleges that in both conversations, Wendt said he was “exploring options” and did not disclose the offer from Oswego.

On May 30, the Ankeny School Board offered Wendt a one-year contract and 3.25 percent raise or the $176,000 severance package.

Wendt took the severance. The next day, he took the top job at the Oswego School District, along with a $225,000 salary.

The suit alleges that Wendt believed the severance would not be approved if the Ankeny board knew about his offer in Oswego, and that he “owed a duty to the School District” to disclose the offer from Oswego.

Wendt took the helm as Oswego’s new superintendent on July 1. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening, but has previously defended the transition allowance. He said he notified the Ankeny School Board in April that he was searching for other opportunities, and said the timing “appeared right for me to move on.”

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