Gayla Corley, an attorney with law firm Langley and Banack in San Antonio, conducted the investigation and presented her findings to the board.
The complaint, filed in late July, alleges that Chadwell emailed, called, texted and met in person with a former district employee, counseling him on a pending lawsuit against the district, Corley said.
“The investigation that I conducted did not seem to support that Mr. Chadwell had actively assisted in that way, but rather perhaps had unwittingly been drawn into some communications that in hindsight may have been ill-advised,” Corley said.
In October, the RRISD board of trustees voted to not renew an employment contract for Aaron Wolber, then an elementary school teacher with the district.
Following Wolber’s non-renewal hearing, Wolber reached out to Chadwell, requesting a meeting, Corley said. The two “had a couple of meetings” between December and into March, she said.
Corley said her investigation found the meetings, calls, text messages and emails “generally involved” conversations about a separate business venture rather than assistance to Wolber with his pending legal action against the district, as the written complaint alleged.
Corley said she interviewed witnesses and reviewed the written complaint as the basis for her investigation.
“The ultimate conclusion of the investigation following the interviews and the review of the complaint is that it does not appear that Mr. Chadwell violated any provisions of the open meetings act but may have deviated from some of the board’s ethical policies,” Corley said. “I don’t think that there was any intentional effort to attempt to assist Mr. Wolber in his capacity as a former district employee.”
The board’s vice president, Nikki Gonzales, said the investigation highlights the need to review board policy.
“I want to talk about best practices and what we can do as a board to make sure these type of things don’t happen,” Gonzales said. “We’re going to have to look at policy, and policy means that when this board makes a decision to let someone go that we don’t have discussions with them.”
Chadwell said he supported the board’s decision to make the report public.
“I don’t agree with everything in this [investigation],” Chadwell said just prior to the vote of whether to make the investigation publicly accessible. “It hasn’t been corroborated. But in effort for transparency for this district moving forward, I support whatever the board, my peers, decide on this. I think there are some statements in here that have been misconstrued, misstated. Hopefully we’ll get this behind us, and we’ll move on.”
Trustees Mason Moses and Cory Vessa were absent, and Chadwell recused himself from the vote.
Access a copy of the investigation here.