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Bayfield music director reinstated after nonprofit’s internal investigation

Lech Usinowicz, founder of the Be FRANK Foundation, was placed on paid leave in December
Lech Usinowicz, the founder of the Be FRANK Foundation, will return as the organization’s program director after a four-month period of paid administrative leave stemming from a domestic violence conviction last November. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)
Apr 18, 2024
Director of Bayfield music nonprofit tries to move past domestic violence conviction

The founder of the Be FRANK Foundation, a Bayfield nonprofit that expands access to music lessons and instruments for children, has been brought off paid administrative leave and will return as an employee.

Lech Usinowicz was placed on leave by the organization’s board on Dec. 21 after a report of improper conduct, according to a joint statement released by Usinowicz and the organization.

Usinowicz emailed the statement to The Durango Herald.

In November, he pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal mischief with a domestic violence background and was sentenced to 12 months probation. The charge stemmed from an Aug. 18, 2023, incident in which Usinowicz smashed the phone of his on-again, off-again partner with an ax in front of Bayfield Marshal’s deputies.

After placing Usinowicz, who was serving as Be FRANK’s executive director, on leave, the organization retained the law firm Holland & Hart to investigate the allegations.

“We are pleased to announce that BFF’s independent investigators found all of the allegations made against Lech to be unfounded as they relate to his work at BFF,” the statement released Monday read. “The executive summary of the full report concludes, ‘There is no evidence that the allegations related to Mr. Usinowicz’s personal life have spilled over into his professional capacity at Be Frank.”’

An attorney at the firm declined to release the report or any part of it.

The joint statement said Usinowicz has agreed to “terms and conditions proposed by the board,” and that he will return as program director. Brian Caselles will remain interim executive director.

“Being in the classroom today was the best day that I’ve had in a long time, lots of hugs and high-fives from the students,” he wrote in his email to the Herald. “I am excited to continue our work to cultivate music opportunities for students in La Plata County.”

rschafir@durangoherald.com



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