HUNTINGTON — A Spring Valley High School basketball coach is suing the school’s principal and the Wayne County Board of Education, accusing them of defamation, invasion of privacy, abuse of process and outrage following accusations of stealing money from the school.
In a complaint filed June 14, boys basketball coach Cory Maynard and his wife, Amanda Maynard, who teaches secondary special education at SVHS, stated SVHS Principal John Hayes and the Board of Education accused and investigated them for the misuse of school funds without any legitimate cause.
“Over the past month, Defendant Hayes has engaged in intimidatory and harassing conduct against the Maynards, which includes, but is not limited to: a. his coercing Mr. Maynard’s performance evaluator to give Mr. Maynard a negative evaluation; b. his telling other members of the community that the Maynards have misused school funds and stolen thousands of dollars; and c. his unnecessary monitoring of Ms. Maynard during the school day and intruding into her private conversations with other teachers,” the complaint states.
This investigation included violating the Maynards’ privacy by looking into their personal financial records and later spreading false information in the community, negatively impacting their reputation, the complaint states.
The Maynards have been affected greatly enough by the accusations that Cory Maynard has been approved for leave until November 2021 under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), the complaint states, and while Amanda Maynard has not sought FMLA leave, “she, too, has experienced substantial stress, and makes every effort to avoid Defendant Hayes.”
The Maynards have learned from other community members that some people believe they stole $20,000 after learning of Hayes and the BOE’s accusations.
The complaint states that after Hayes was appointed principal of SVHS at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, he began a “campaign” to discredit Cory Maynard.
Cory Maynard claims in March 2021 while practicing with the boys basketball team, Hayes entered the SVHS gym and “began a tirade against Mr. Maynard and shouted obscenities at him and threatened to investigate Mr. Maynard.”
Hayes reportedly began investigating Cory Maynard’s involvement with a no-longer-existing basketball camp and accused him of using school funding for the community basketball camp. The Maynards also later stated they wondered why Hayes was so interested in the camp since he had only recently become principal.
The complaint states Cory Maynard was in charge of the Timberwolf Basketball Camp, a youth basketball camp for Wayne County children. It was not connected to SVHS and it was paid for through the Maynards’ personal funds, funds collected from students who enrolled in the camp and sponsorships, the complaint states.
Though the camp was named Timberwolf, similar to the SVHS mascot, Cory Maynard states it was named before he took over.
It also states that at no time while Cory Maynard was running the camp or in the years after he left the camp, around 2018, was he accused of mishandling funds until Hayes was appointed principal.
Hayes reportedly began contacting people about their financial arrangements with Cory Maynard regarding the basketball camp without Cory Maynard’s permission to discuss his financial information.
Cory Maynard was asked to appear in front of the BOE members in May to discuss financial issues related to the camp. About a week later, Maynard was notified there was no actionable misconduct found in that situation, yet he and his wife were going to be investigated for misuse of school funds related to the SVHS basketball team.
“Despite not finding any wrongdoing, however, the WCBOE, by its attorney, now advised that the WCBOE was investigating the Maynards’ involvement in booster funds raised to purchase school uniforms,” the complaint states.
The complaint states that the Maynards have raised booster funds over the years from independent fundraisers for the school’s basketball teams, but the fundraising is not through the school.
When Hayes began accusing Cory Maynard of misuse of school funding, Amanda Maynard was in the process of paying a vendor for fundraiser items. The complaint states an error in the vendor’s invoice caused delayed payment.
Hayes took control of the funding and transactions, the complaint states.
“Although neither Spring Valley High School or Defendant Hayes had any involvement in running the independent fundraisers, much less any dealings with the uniform vendor, Defendant Hayes wrested control of the funds raised through sales of apparel from Ms. Maynard, and unilaterally decided that he would now handle the transactions involving the same.”
The complaint also states the BOE has a pattern of allowing supervisory employees the power to pursue invalid investigations. The board should have known there was no reasonable basis for the investigation and failed to ensure confidentiality during the investigation, it states.