Allegations of Sexual Harassment Fly as Railway Museum President Ousted
SAN ANGELO, TX — Longtime President of the San Angelo Railway Museum, Inc. was ousted last night in an emergency board meeting that started at 7 p.m. and lasted until a late evening hour. Two San Angelo police officers monitored the meeting to make sure it was peaceful. David Wood resigned without resistance.
At the end of the meeting, Sterling City Mayor Lane Horwood emerged as the Interim President and Executive Director Shannon Carpenter will remain at her post.
Yesterday, the City of San Angelo Council refused to renew the Railway Museum’s lease of the Santa Fe Depot, citing concerns about how the non-profit was being operated. The lease on the City-owned Santa Fe Depot, where the museum is located, is up on Sept. 16.
When the issue of renewing the lease emerged in May 2017, the organization David Wood led was down to just a few board members. Wood aggressively recruited new and younger members to the board and by late June, it appeared the Railway Museum was about to embark upon a renaissance of sorts.
The resurgence was short lived, however.
In an email string obtained exclusively by San Angelo LIVE!, it appears some of the newer people on the board found proper procedures weren’t followed for a non profit registered with the State of Texas. That information was leaked to City officials from the new board and that led City Attorney Theresa James to investigate.
The trouble may have started with newly appointed Executive Director Shannon Carpenter unceremoniously “fired” board volunteer Carolyn Craven. Craven is a CPA who was elected to be the board’s treasurer. Before she assumed those duties, however, Carpenter informed her that her services are no longer needed. Carpenter’s email to Craven:
Just thought I would let you know effective as of last week we will no longer need your services in regards to The Museum's accounting. We spoke to the City and told them we were looking for outside sources to do our accounting so there would be checks and balances. Having an inside accountant that sits on our board is a conflict of interest and the City agreed. We have retained a professional outside accountant and will no longer need your services in reference to our accounting. When I spoke to you today and before you decided to rudely interrupt me and hang up on me because I would not allow you to be so disrespectful, I was asking you to come in so I could let you know of the changes. In the beginning of the conversation you decided to be negative about this organization and I refused to stand for it. If your continued negativity is going to affect this organization then maybe you should consider turning in your resignation. We need team members and professional individuals who care about the future of the Museum and are willing to be a positive asset to our organization. As far as daily operations the board will no longer be a part of it. I have taken over 100% and I do not have time to waste on petulant individuals who only want to bring negativity.
At this point I am the Executive Director of this organization and David Wood will no longer be taking your calls or e-mails and if you have any questions you will need to go through me. Thank you for your time and if you have any further questions or want to meet with me next week then you are welcome to call me or come by the Museum and I will be happy to meet with you. If you only come by to be negative then don't bother because I don't like to have my time wasted I am focused strictly on this organization.
Shannon J. Carpenter
David Wood, who was carbon copied on the email, responded by replying to all with just “Wow!”
At this point, Craven unleashed all of her complaints about the board and Wood’s leadership in an email Tuesday at around 5 p.m. “David, If you spent as much time on the museum as you do chasing skirts, sexually harassing the female patrons of the museum by tales of your dalliances at the local strip joints, and as a massage therapist, and not accused every woman at the City of sleeping her way into her position-perhaps you would not have ran the museum into the ground,” Craven alleged.
Here’s the entire email:
After this grossly abusive email, how dare you include me in an email today and beg for help as the first form of communication since the abhorrent display below. As you obviously need a black and white reminder of your unabashed and unprofessional behavior-I have left the entire thread below.
David, If you spent as much time on the museum as you do chasing skirts, sexually harassing the female patrons of the museum by tales of your dalliances at the local strip joints, and as a massage therapist, and not accused every woman at the City of sleeping her way into her position-perhaps you would not have ran the museum into the ground.
Of course the City does not want to renew the lease. I can only imagine how you and this new self-appointed dictator embarrassed yourselves with the City and further smeared the Board if the type of inexcusable behavior exhibited below is any indication.
You continuously place the blame on everyone other than where it truly belongs--yourself. A Board president that fails to file tax forms and lose an organization its filing status is incredulous to me in itself. Your behavior and diatribes towards Brandy, the City, and anyone who tries to make you see reason are a disgrace.
You have often joked that "the Board runs everyone off" and after my short tenure I can see why. The fact that Rick is the ONLY person to form a response to Shannon's ridiculous email only further screams to the City-and everyone-that the Board, unfortunately, is not enough to save you from yourself.
I sadly recognized that the lease would not be renewed when you decided to publicly bash Brandy in your response to the City Managers email regarding a meeting. That type of behavior in a "President" is humiliating-and it is lost on you. The City has been begging for some semblance of professionalism and requested several times to no longer deal with you, David. Perhaps the museum would have been saved with your acquiescence.
I love the museum and the majority of the staff are lovely people. I cannot, and will not, in good conscience reach out to my network, nor rally any troops to further help save the museum with you at the helm.
David, you and Shannon have got to go. I will happily continue to serve the Board as duly elected Treasurer and I hope that you have not nailed the coffin shut with your antics.
In closing, David—Do not even consider a single disparaging remark against me, nor mention my name in public. I am not Brandy; and it will not be tolerated.
Brandy, mentioned in this email is Brandy Petty, who was recruited to the board along with Craven to help right the ship. Petty resigned from the board last month and has sustained numerous personal attacks by Wood ever since. Yesterday at City Council, Wood mentioned an unnamed member of the board who didn’t live up to his expectations. He was likely referring to Petty.
Carpenter said last night she was working for a resolution of those allegations when she wrote the email effectively firing Craven. Carpenter claims to have been secretly working for the City’s interests all along and towards the ouster of Wood.
“I totally deny all this. I haven’t hired a lawyer yet,” David Wood said about the allegations Wednesday afternoon.
Wood said he resigned last night because the City indicated that if Wood wasn’t on the board, the City might consider doing business with the Museum and granting the lease.
Carpenter, acknowledging that Wood is gone, said, “We are in the mode of moving forward and want to put this chapter behind us.”
And so this is as the world turns at San Angelo’s Railway Museum.