KSU Top Chef Quits After FOX 5 I-Team Questions
Gary Coltek suddenly quit his job without explanation after the FOX 5 I-Team began digging into allegations of nepotism, conflicts of interest and billing a major KSU vendor for thousands of dollars to be paid to his private company.
KENNESAW, Ga. - He won numerous awards as the executive director of Culinary Services at Kennesaw State University.
But Gary Coltek quit his $130,000 a year state job in the wake of an internal investigation brought on by questions from the FOX 5 I-Team.
KSU serves 4500 meals a day at its all-you-care-to eat facility The Commons. Coltek's smiling face greeted visitors in the lobby from the framed magazine articles that praised him and KSU.
But two years ago KSU reprimanded executive director Coltek, finding evidence he created a perception he was using their premier dining facility "like a personal business venture." The school issued a scathing reprimand, only now made public, citing a long list of misconduct examples:
Having a KSU employee performing personal work for him during KSU time.
Falsifying a tax document.
Allegations of nepotism..
Click here to read the entire 2013 reprimand.
"This situation cannot continue," wrote Vice President for Operations Dr. Randy Hinds, slamming Coltek for "poor judgment... that has marked nearly your entire employment history at KSU."
In January, 2013, Dr. Hinds threatened to fire Coltek if he did not improve. But just months after that scolding, documents showed one of Coltek's many private companies began billing a major vendor Coltek was also supposed to be supervising.
Sodexo is an international firm that contracts with governments and universities across the United States. The FOX 5 I-Team obtained an invoice sent to Sodexo from a company Gary Coltek owned called Foodgenuity. It listed a retainer of $20,000 and a fee of $3500 dollars Sodexo was to pay Coltek's private company each month. This was in October, 2013, while Sodexo also had the $11 million annual contract to provide food services at KSU.
Coltek would not comment on this side deal. Sodexo would only say: "Sodexo is currently investigating the details surrounding any agreement with Mr. Coltek. Additional information will be shared at the appropriate time."
Shortly after we raised questions about him using his KSU secretary to do personal business, Gary Coltek resigned. KSU would only say it is "conducting an administrative review."
But did KSU miss earlier warning signs? The FOX 5 I-Team analysis of Coltek's 2015 calendar and May, 2015 emails discovered multiple examples of private business dealings Coltek conducted on KSU time. That also included lobbying the new major food vendor at KSU -- Chartwells -- to hire Coltek's daughter at a top food position at Life University.
But Coltek insisted he had done nothing wrong when FOX 5 I-Team reporter Randy Travis caught up with him.
Randy Travis: Do you think it's appropriate though that you're sort of lobbying your vendor here at KSU to take a look at your daughter at another school?
Gary Coltek: Absolutely. She's a rock star. She's an absolute rock star.
Randy Travis: And you don't see anything wrong with that.
Gary Coltek: Absolutely not. She'd have to get it on her own. You have to go through everything you have to do to get your job.
Randy Travis: Did she get the job?
Gary Coltek: Absolutely.
Coltek's KSU secretary Tracy Nunn told the FOX 5 I-Team she often did private work for her boss on KSU time.
"I just did the work that was required of me as my job duties at KSU as instructed by Gary Coltek" she told Randy.
"So he told you to do some private things on KSU time?"