The owner of a Missoula dog park where a male employee was charged with misdemeanor assault of a female employee is selling the business.
Jason Overmier, the supervisor at Wagg'n Indoor Dog Park and owner Rachele Clark’s boyfriend, drew several accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct. He no longer works at the park, and was charged by Missoula County prosecutors in May with “assault-physical contact of insulting nature," a misdemeanor. A change-of-plea hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 25.
Last month, the Missoulian reported that Clark tried to use court orders, social media complaints and threats of dismissal against employees who complained about Overmier.
In a Thursday press release, Wagg’n announced that “Wagg’n Indoor Dog Park is changing ownership and management effective immediately. A small business investor from Denver, CO is purchasing Wagg’n with hopes of franchising the unique concept.”
In a telephone interview with the Missoulian on Thursday, Clark declined to provide the investor’s identity or additional information. She noted that the deal has not been finalized.
Jordyn Courter, a former employee Overmier is accused of assaulting and whose complaints Clark tried to block with a court order, told the Missoulian on Thursday that “I’m surprised that this is happening so suddenly, but I think that choosing to sell the business was a smart decision on Rachele’s part. Wagg’n is a great concept; I wish the investor nothing but success and am excited to see where Wagg’n goes in the future.”
According to Missoulian interviews, four of Wagg’n’s six employees quit in November 2017 because they felt unsafe after they said Overmier’s drinking had led to inappropriate behavior. Another two employees quit simultaneously in April when similar behavior remained unchecked by the business owner, according to employees who asked that their names not be used for fear of retaliation.
Allegations ranged from unwanted, lewd or suggestive comments to the incident in which Overmier allegedly pinned Courter against a wall while they were alone.
Thursday's announcement said that, except for Clark, all other employees will be retained. Sarah Trueax has been promoted to park manager and will oversee day-to-day operations. Clark will fill in as needed until new employees can be hired.
Waggn’ plans to hold an open house on Saturday, Jan. 12, from noon to 2 p.m. It is also accepting applications for new staff at email@example.com.