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***WARNING***

Do not take any offers from a company called Culture Gateway (http://china.culturegateway.com/teach)in Beijing.

I was contacted through an aquaintance and connected with a Canadian named Shawn Tryon, who engineered a fraudulant scheme to recruit teachers for a training program under Beijing Normal University. Tryon and his "associates" keep at least 30% of the hourly pay from the school (nearly 100rmb per hour). After the job finished, he withheld all promised pay, tried to implement arbitrary "fines and penalties", and finally told me he would no longer answer my emails if I didn't do as I was told.

The school, located at the former Furen University in the hutong area near Hohai, told me it "wasn't their problem", and I was forced to contact the dean at the university to force them to acknowledge that I had ever worked there. The whole ordeal of trying to get paid expostfacto lasted for over 2 months, recked my relationship and almost caused my eviction. SHAWN TRYON is the sleaziest most dishonest, evil person I have met in China.

Do not accept any offers from Him, any of his associates or CULTURE GATEWAY. It's a huge scam. They should all be arrested.

Comments  

0 # The truth behind Dodd NewtonShawn 2010-05-23 09:59
I feel that anyone who reads this should know the WHOLE story and not just Mr. Newton’s side, sorry it is a long read but worth it.

Yes I did hire Mr. Thomas Dodd Newton to cover my company's classes in my absence. I got his name through a close friend who said that this teacher really needed work and that he was a good teacher. I was told by my friend and Dodd (Thomas is his first name not Dodd) that he was a Canadian (I do not care either way I am just stating this to bring in to question his ethics and morals), when in fact he was an American, why did he lie?!?

I sat with him for several hours, he went on and on about how poor he was and that he did not even have enough money to eat because his last company did not pay him and just disappeared, he told me about how Chinese people were not trust worthy and that he felt better dealing with a foreigner like myself. I told him that he can be assured that everything was good and that he was not going to get scammed by neither myself nor my company. I told him that this was a contract class and that the school (B**) would be paying me (my company), I would be paying him and that he was taking on my contract for about 1-6 months while I was in Canada. He was still a little unsure about the arrangement. He asked if it would be easier, and to make him feel more comfortable with the situation, for him to just be paid directly from the school. I again informed him that this was a contract through my company and not through the school and that the school agrees to me finding and paying a suitable teacher during my absence. He agreed and did not bring it up again in our meeting. I informed him that the school would pay us around the 15th of each month for the previous month and that I would pay him as soon as I could confirm that we received their payment, so on or before the 18th of each month. He expressed that this made him feel uneasy and complained about not having enough money to eat or for rent, so me being a bit of a bleeding heart I offered to pay him directly from my own account on January 05th for his first weeks work in December. He still was not happy and insisted on getting paid for January early. He said that getting the pay for January around the 18th of February was not something that he could do due to his having no money. So again I agreed to pay him early before the school even paid us for the classes. I told him that I could pay him for his first 2 weeks in January around the 18th of January (but it should be paid around Feb. 18th). He again agreed and thanked me for understanding and helping him out. I then explained a few things about the contract that he would be signing on his first day of classes at the school. These are just basic things like that this was a contract between him and my company and not between him and the school, that he was not to approach the school directly and in so doing so would result in penalties and termination, he must do all classes to the best of his ability and not ruin any relationship between the school, myself or my company. I also gave him a decent wage of 175 RMB per hour for basic listening and spoken English classes total of 14 hours a week Monday to Thursday mornings only, with all materials supplied and he only had 6 months teaching experience so this wage was more than an acceptable rate for the work. He agreed to it all and seemed very happy for the work and the payment schedule.

Now as some people know it is not uncommon for a lot of schools to hold back a week or in some cases a months pay, this is due to some teachers teaching for a week of a two month contract, getting paid for that week then leaving the school and students and in some cases taking the contract away from the school. The school we were dealing with decided to make it’s policy to pay out on the 15th of each month for the previous month.

Well all was going well and I sent him his pay for the last week of December on the 05th of January... then the poop hit the fan.

I got an email from Dodd on the 07th of January:
Hi Shawn-
I received the contract from W**** yesterday, and I had some questions about it. Do you have a local phone number set up yet so we can talk? Please let me know ASAP.
-Dodd

So I sent him my number in Canada but did not get a call.

Then on the 08th of January I got this email from Dodd:
Hi Shawn. I'm glad to hear that you and your wife arrived safely before the new year. I hope all is well and you are enjoying your vacation. I just tried to call you, but I'm having trouble with skype. I spoke to W**** and mr. ** and they told me that they prefer to pay me directly. I think this is a much better arangement, so they will handle my payment for January and beyond this way, at the same rate you receive. They said this is the arrangement they have with your cousin, and we felt this will be more convenient for everybody. I am preparing the exam review today. Everything is going well. Class b is tough, but they're coming along. I'll update you at exam time next week. Is the country code for calling Canada the same as the us? ( 001)? Speak with you later, Dodd.
Sent from my iPod

WTF... I then had to make a few phone calls to Beijing, China to see what was going on. My main contact from the school is Mr. ** so I called him first and he had no idea about any problems, he told me that he would look into it and get back to me later. In the end it was discovered that W**** was un aware of the contract between my company and the school, she had just returned from holidays. Dodd had gone to her and asked to be paid directly or he could no longer teach the class so she thought that it would not be a problem. She told Dodd that the school was paying my company 250 RMB per hour. W**** later apologized for her mistake and assured me that Mr. ** nor the school was involved in this problem. She told me that the first day Dodd came into class he refused to sign the contract and told her that he needed to talk to me about it first. Then he waited till after I paid him on January 05th for his week of work in December. He was obviously trying to steal the contract from my company. I then confronted him on this on the phone and he gave me the third degree like I was the one ripping him off. He said he was upset that my company was making money off of him, he already knew this when I interviewed him?!? He then wanted an email telling him that he would still get his full pay, because he was now very afraid that he was going to get a penalty as stated in the contract:

VIII. Party A’s Rights
To override any decision Party B makes that will possibly affect Party A’s operation.
To evaluate Party B’s performance and give Party B the feedback.
To be privy to any and all information regarding the company which Party B knows
In the event that Party B violates the tenets of this contract, Party A has the right to withhold all or some of party A’s payment based on the damages. If Party B’s behavior results in a loss of profit that would have been realized had Party B behaved in accordance with the contract, Party A can request reimbursement for said loss. Party B must pay any fine or remuneration without exception.


In fact as per the contract and the problems that he caused with the whole contract and that he got the dean involved we were under no obligation to pay him anything. I sent him and email stating that he SHOULD not WOULD get the payment for the said hours of work in January:

Yes you should be paid 5425 RMB for your work in January, I will have to wait for the report from Mr. ** for the one extra hour, I should be getting that sometime soon.
Thank you,
Shawn

He still whined, begged and pleaded with W**** to pay him directly. He was now very afraid of not getting his pay. He finished his last week of work and handed in his testing for the students (his testing method and scoring system was way below standard and he really did a crappy job of it) the school emailed me about this problem also and confirmed that they wanted nothing to do with this teacher ever again.

In the end we lost the listening class, 6 hours a week, due to the problems with the teacher which cost us a great deal of problems and money. So after he submitted his test and his teaching materials I told him that he was going to be fined, I sent him an email on February 28th (yes it was a bit late but I was still finding out everything that had happened and finding out what the final outcome would be from the client).

Here is what I sent:
I was just waiting for the payments from B** in order to pay you. I have now confirmed that they have paid me, therefore I can now pay you.
I was also waiting for what penalties my company would give me for your insubordination and blatant disregard for our original agreement. Our company lost 6 hours a week from this contract from March 2010 on, and I received a hefty fine for this.
My company was considering not paying you at all considering that you went against our agreement and caused so many problems, I spoke out and explained that this was not something that I felt comfortable with and therefore they decided on a fine of 50% and again I had to say that this was not acceptable so the decision was made that you would be paid a maximum of 100 RMB per hour for your work. I would consider this to be fair deal considering all that had happened from your lack of effort and lack of ethics.
Your total pay will be 3,200 RMB, I will call for someone to send the payment to you once I get a response email from you, this is all I can do.
Shawn

This was his reply Feb. 28th:
You have already agreed to pay me 5425 rmb in writing. Please paye the full amount agreed asap. I agree to nothing else. If you try to change the deal now, after I have executed my end of the agreement, a lot of people will hear about this, I promise you, I will make your work as difficult as possible for you in China and abroad.
Sent from my iPod

So as you can see now he is threatening me, I have been honest and fair from the beginning and have been trying to work with him. I even confronted him about talking to the client about paying him directly and he still went and hassled W**** sometimes calling her several times a day and asking the same questions but phrasing them differently each time. W**** even called me one time crying because he was calling her too much and causing so many problems. I told them that I was handling this and to just give it some time.

This was my response on March 01st:
I am sorry but my hands are tied. You should have thought about this before you did what you did.
Shawn

I thought that what he did and what he was getting was fair. So I left it up to him
Hmmm... as far as us taking pay from the contract, yes we were, that is what a company does. We find the clients, negotiate the contracts, wage, length, times and do all the deal relationship between the client and the teachers. This way the Chinese school and the foreign teacher have an easier time dealing with one another and each has protection that they will get what was agreed upon as long as they do not act like Mr. Newton.

Then on March 06th I got this email from him:
Ok. send me the 3200 asap. i'm tired of arguing.
Neither of us made any caveats or reservations to this agr

Now I did not get this email till the 8th though because my laptop was in for repairs. This is also when I was contacted by W**** saying that the dean of the school was now involved and that Dodd’s girlfriends family knew the dean and that the relationship went back 3 generations. Hmmm… for how much trouble Dodd caused us and how much he hassled everyone involved in all this I would say without a doubt that him now turning to his girlfriend and putting the problem on her and her family is what ended his relationship.

As far as the school and any of the people involved in all this Mr. Newton will never work for any one of us ever again and I would urge anyone else looking to hire him to think first about whether or not you would like someone like Thomas Dodd Newton, Dodd Thomas Newton… or what ever name he is using now, to work for your company.

In the end Mr. Newton did get his full payment of over 5,000 rmb from the school because he again called the dean again and again and again till they just wanted him to go away.

My lesson in this whole mess is to take more care when hiring teachers and to follow up on past history of the teachers, in this case I was not able to and I took a friends advice but to no fault of my friend this teacher turned out to be nothing more than a con artist and trouble maker.

Thank you for your time,
Shawn
0 # Anonymous former Culture Gatew 2010-08-09 09:55
Actually, I also do not recommend anyone to do business with Shawn. In the summer of 2008, 75% of the 12 teachers that he hired quit within two months due to his inability to follow through on things that he promised. Additionally, he took approximately 75% of each teacher's salary per month. He's not a mean guy - just very self-serving and aggressively cheats people out of money who come to China and don't know any better. Luckily, we did.
0 # Shawn 2010-08-13 17:16
Hahaha... Who is this? Well anyways, that was the previous program that was set up, I was just doing what I was told for my job, so no I did not wrong you nor Dodd, actually for those teachers I did try to help out more but my hands were tied. Oh and that was also a different program that was set up and determined way befroe I even took the position.
0 # Shawn 2010-08-13 18:20
I am sorry you feel this way but I did do what I could. I am not in any way self-serving I had to do what I was told to, I only got what I was told that I was going to be paid for and nothing more from the same company that hired you. If you feel that I did wrong you then I am sorry but I too was only an employee. You areone of the following former employees: Faraz, Zack, Cory, Sasha, Faraz, Ben, Aaron, Cory, Haiwen, Tim or Will.

If you want you know how to reach me, but please unwarranted slander on my character is not something that I deserve.

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