Overview:

The head of an association to represent energy industry workers is facing organizational allegations from past and present board members, resulting from sexist insults he made about one of the top Republican-women in West Texas

The president and founder of a non-profit energy industry lobby organization based in Odessa is coming under fire for inappropriate remarks made regarding a top Republican Party official in West Texas. Now, those remarks are leading to other allegations regarding the structure of the organization, and the president’s criminal past.

The Oil and Gas Workers Association (OGWA), which is listed as a 501 (c) (6) non-profit, was founded by its present board president, Matt Coday in 2015, according to the website.

Most recently, Coday has garnered state and national media attention, hosting events for Republican candidates and being prominently featured on Fox News as an authority on oil and gas industry issues.

Coday’s Inappropriate Remarks

On Thursday, Coday took to social media, posting in the comments on an Odessa Headlines story regarding a lawsuit that was filed against the Ector County Utility District, and making disparaging comments against one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Jesse Christesson, and the wife of another plaintiff in the lawsuit, Patti Kappauf, writing “I’m surprised to see Jesse Christesson be able to dress himself some days. I doubt he can argue precedent, much less find it from 2000. Is Patti Kappauff feeding people like Jesse her dirty work?”

After an extensive argument ensued with another commentator in which Coday’s criminal theft-related past was discussed, Coday randomly accused former OGWA board member Wallace Dunn of having a conviction for a “domestic abuse-related charge.”

Odessa Headlines was unable to find any domestic abuse related convictions in Dunn’s background.

Coday proceeded to describe how he is not shy regarding his past drug addictions and made a random sexist remark about State Republican Executive Committee-Woman Tisha Crow.

Matt Coday Comments on Odessa Headlines Facebook.

“You’re still not very bright if you think I don’t know that. I have one. I’m honest about mine,” Coday wrote about his criminal records, adding, “I’m an alcoholic and used to be a junkie. God got me off the dope in 2014 and got me completely sober August 21, 2018. And if you think any of my past scares me, you’re as dumb as Tisha Crow’s boob jobs look.”

A background check revealed that Coday has an extensive criminal record.

Odessa Headlines reached out to Crow for comment, who said she was stunned and disappointed when she read the comment and added that she would pray for Coday.

“There is obviously a lot of darkness still in his heart with the way he treats women and good people”, Crow said, adding, “foremost I pray that he changes his ways. Until then, I would caution Republican candidates about him.”

Odessa Headlines also spoke with Kappauf, who said she wasn’t surprised about Coday’s remarks.

“I’ve had to block his Facebook profile and his telephone number so that he cannot reach out to me, Kappauf wrote, adding, “After a recent harassment incident, I contacted his boss to get him to stop but apparently that is not working either.”  

Former OGWA Board Members Weigh In

Odessa Headlines reached out and spoke with several current and former board members of OGWA regarding Coday’s behavior, which brought to light allegations against Coday and his organization.

At this time, I have no affiliation with that organization, nor will I ever in the future. I use the word “organization” loosely,” wrote former board member Wallace Dunn in a full-page statement to Odessa Headlines.

Dunn, an elected board member of the Ector County Hospital District, presently serves as president of the Texas Handgun Association, serves on numerous oil field-related boards including the Permian Basin International Oil Show, and is a former officer in the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division and former National Guardsman.

Dunn wrote that he realized the “organization is a sham” and wrote that Coday wouldn’t provide records of board meetings or other organizational documents and began attacking Dunn on social media after Dunn started asking questions about where the money was going.

“I realized fairly quickly the organization is a sham and pretty much just a paycheck for Matt Coday,” Dunn wrote. “During the time I served, Matt Coday was unemployed and had no other source of income. I resigned after Matt Coday began attacking me on social media pages in reference to my position on the Ector County Hospital Board. He did this WHILE I was on his board of directors… When I first joined the board, I asked to review the minutes or records of previous board meetings.”

Former OGWA board member Mike Cummings told Odessa Headlines he only joined the board after Coday called him and extensively talked about how great their mutual friend, Wallace Dunn was, and that he left when he began to see the same things Dunn was seeing, and wrote the following statement:  

“Shortly after being appointed to the Board of Oil & Gas Workers Association I realized it to be more of a sham than a 501 (c)6, working to secure American energy jobs! It’s my belief that this organization is nothing more than a slush fund to support Matt Coday’s bad habits! It’s unfortunate as I believed at one time we could have turned this around & got it going in the right direction. It’s very unfortunate as I once believed in their mission but I have no faith in this Association going forward! Shortly after Mr. Wallace Dunn resigned his chair on the Board I decided it was time I did the same for all the same reasons. Wallace is well respected in the community & among his peers.  I learned a long time ago if you wanted to know something about someone, go to their community to find the best & truth about someone.  I couldn’t pay someone to say anything bad about Mr. Dunn. That told me all I needed to know!”

Former OGWA Board Member Mike Cummings

Present Board Members

Odessa Headlines spoke with Odessan Mark Merritt, who is shown as a present board member of the OGWA, however, he says that simply isn’t the case.

“I didn’t consent to be on the board, I have never seen a copy of the by-laws, financials, never paid dues, and after declining to be on the board I just appeared on the board,” Merritt said on a phone interview.

OGWA Website Showing Mark Merritt on the Board of Directors

Merritt described how Coday had approached him about being on the board earlier this year, and sometime after he declined, he noticed that his photo and name appeared on the OGWA website as a board member but has been too busy to do anything about it.

Odessa Headlines also spoke with Dr. Jon Spiers, who confirmed he is on the board, and issued a statement condemning Coday’s comments, saying that Coday needed to apologize.

“I am deeply concerned. That is not productive, it doesn’t advance the OGWA cause, and it is problematic. I offer my PERSONAL apology on behalf of the organization, and we will be addressing this internally as well.”

Dr. Jon Spiers

Dr. Spiers also said he doesn’t have a copy of the organization’s finance documents, but he spoke with Coday who assured him that has them and is gathering them.

Public Business Records Versus Current Board Members

Business records on file with the Texas Secretary of State show that as of June 7 of this year, OGWA has three legal board members including Coday (President), Donnie Davis (Vice-President), and Caitlyn Edge (Secretary).

Source: Texas Secretary of State

The organization’s website, however, shows the OGWA is governed by 22 board members from across the United States, with most being from Texas.

According to the IRS, certain tax-exempt organizations like OGWA must publicly disclose financial information including salaries on an annual basis. OGWA does not provide those documents on their website, and the disclosures have been requested by Odessa Headlines.

The OWGA website states that the organization has over 46,000 members, and lists three membership levels, with the lowest starting at $6.00 per month, a $60.00 annual membership option, and a $1,200.00 annual business level membership.

Given these numbers, the OGWA could be generating over $2.7 million annually in membership revenue, if true.  

Coday Contacted for Comment

Odessa Headlines reached out to Coday for comment regarding his comments on social media, as well as the allegations from past and present board members, and to request the organization’s public financial documents.

As of publication, Coday has not responded.  

Matt Stringer

Matt Stringer is from Odessa, Texas, and serves as the Editor for Odessa Headlines.