For nearly two decades, Reginald Osborne worked for the Dallas County Community College District, first as a teacher at Cedar Valley and then, for the past 17 years, as an administrator and athletic director at Mountain View. He did until last month, at least, when DCCCD fired Osborne for allegedly renting out the school's athletic fields without authorization and keeping the cash.
"We have only one receipt linked to these incidents; consequently, we do not know the total amount of lost revenue that occurred," DCCCD spokeswoman Ann Hatch wrote in an email.
According to an audit conducted by the district, an area resident who had gone through the standard practice for renting the fields (contract with the district setting price, time of use, etc.) complained when they found upon arriving that they were already in use. Auditors and Mountain Valley police talked with witnesses, as well as Osborne, head soccer coach Steve Rodriguez, and Rodriguez's wife. Osborne and Rodriguez admitted, according to the district, to renting out the fields, for cash and without a contract, and keeping the proceeds. Osborne was fired; Rodriguez stepped down.
Both men deny profiting from the soccer field rental. Osborne, asked about the allegations by phone on Thursday, told Unfair Park "No that wasn't me. That was somebody else" and that "you will hear from someone" if his name is printed. He called back shortly after to refer questions to his attorney, Matthew Scott.
Osborne did rent the fields without district contracts, Scott said, but he did it to allow Mountain View coaches to run athletic camps. "This is a system they had used in the past and has not been an issue," Scott said. Furthermore, he added, the allegation that Osborne kept any of the money is fundamentally untrue.
"Frankly, I think there were some racial issues going on," Scott said, alluding to "issues with a particular board member of a different ethnicity."
He and Osborne are contemplating legal action over his firing.
Rodriguez paints a somewhat different picture. Several months ago, he was sitting in his office when he says he was approached by Osborne, who told him "I have a way for the volunteer coach" -- Rodriguez's helper -- "to make some money. But you're going to have to come up here and work on Saturday and work on Sunday."
Rodriguez knew there had been a similar setup with the baseball coach a year before, and that the school's vice president of business was aware of it, so, he says, he agreed. For the next six months or so, the volunteer coach would arrive in the mornings to unlock the gates and open up the bathrooms, then return in the evening to clean the area and lock up. It wasn't quite every weekend, but it was most.
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"Basically, in the beginning Osborne was collecting all of the money, so I was not aware, and the volunteer coach was not aware if there was a contract or not a contract," Rodriguez said. Osborne would then pay the volunteer coach for his work from the rental proceeds.
Rodriguez says he never received any money. The auditors pegged him because he had signed a receipt -- the single one the auditors found -- for an $1,800 field rental that did not go through the district's contracting process. But that was to someone with Mountain View for an event celebrating the school's 40th anniversary in 2010. He says he promptly passed the check on to the school.
Rodriguez said auditors targeted him to make it easier to get to Osborne, and he resigned under pressure.
"We were totally in the dark," Rodriguez said. "We were used."