Former Fayetteville superintendent Matthew Wendt files Chapter 7 bankruptcy

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 3,477 views 

Former Fayetteville Public Schools superintendent Matthew Wendt, who was fired in June 2018, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

The bankruptcy will ultimately lead to the liquidation of Wendt’s assets with the money to be distributed to unsecured creditors.

According to court documents, the voluntary petition estimates Wendt and his wife Dawn Wendt have between $500,000 and $1 million in debts and the same amount in assets. Wendt estimated his creditors to be between 50 and 99. The two largest creditors listed in the court filing are SoFi Lending Corp., with an unsecured claim of $62,260, and consumer lending platform BestEgg, which is owed $47,149.

The filing was made June 28 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Travis Story, a Fayetteville lawyer, is representing Wendt in the matter. Fayetteville attorney Bianca Rucker is the bankruptcy trustee.

A meeting of creditors is scheduled for 9 a.m Aug. 19 at the federal courthouse in Fayetteville.

In March, a Washington County circuit judge dismissed a lawsuit brought against Fayetteville Public Schools by Wendt, who sued the district in October 2018 over claims he was wrongfully terminated for sexual harassment allegations.

Wendt sought $1.5 million or reinstatement, arguing the district’s internal investigation found “no basis” that he sexually harassed district employee Shae Lynn Newman, according to court documents.

Newman accused Wendt in March 2018 of sexual harassment. The following month, Newman’s attorney, Suzanne Clark, released a letter from Newman accusing Wendt of making unwanted sexual advances and threats toward her.

Clark also released several text messages that appeared to show Wendt threatening Newman’s job and stalking her.

Wendt was fired June 18, 2018, for breach of contract for derogatory comments against a fellow employee violating district policy, according to Susan Kendall, attorney for the school board.

Randy Coleman, Wendt’s attorney in the suit against Fayetteville Public Schools, said at the time of the dismissal Wendt was having trouble finding employment due to his portrayal as a “sexual predator” by Newman and the district.

Wendt said at the time he had been rejected from more than 100 job openings, including working as a car salesman, based on his alleged conduct at the district.

Wendt, who was hired as Fayetteville superintendent in January 2016, remains unemployed, according to the bankruptcy filing, and has no income. Dawn Wendt is a gifted and talented teacher at Fayetteville’s Woodland Junior High School.

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