Incredible rags-to-riches story of the janitor who became director after ‘inventing’ the Cheetos Flamin’ Hot flavor is exposed as a LIE – as MBA grad emerges as the person who actually made the snack

A Mexican-American laborer who claimed to have invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, setting his life on an incredible rags-to-riches pathway, was exposed on Sunday as having invented key parts of the story.

Richard Montañez, 62, has written two books telling his remarkable tale, and commands up to $50,000 for motivational speeches. A biopic of his life, Flamin’ Hot, is currently being made by Eva Longoria.

Yet The Los Angeles Times spoke to former colleagues and executives at the food company, who called into question Montañez’s story.

In particular, one woman, Lynne Greenfeld, said that she was put in charge of developing the brand and came up with the Flamin’ Hot name and product idea.

‘It is disappointing that 20 years later, someone who played no role in this project would begin to claim our experience as his own and then personally profit from it,’ she told the paper.

Montañez has not commented on the claims. 

Montañez was certainly involved in product development – a remarkable feat for someone who joined the company in 1976 as a janitor.

He claims that, as a janitor, he rang the chief executive and pitched the idea for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

Yet Frito-Lay said its records show he was promoted to machinist operator by October 1977, shortly after his hiring.

In that role, he writes in his new memoir, he spearheaded a program to reduce waste along the assembly line.

Greenfeld joined the company in 1989, and was tasked with finding a product that appealed to spicier tastes and could rival the flavor-filled snacks that were selling well in the mid West.

Six of the former employees remember inspiration coming from the corner stores of Chicago and Detroit – not from California, where Montañez worked.

Fred Lindsay, a salesman for the Chicago region, remembers clearly working to develop the snack.

‘The funny thing is, I heard maybe a year ago that some guy from California was taking credit for developing hot Cheetos, which is crazy,’ Lindsay told The LA Times.

‘I’m not trying to take credit; I’m just trying to set the record straight.’

By August 1990, test versions of Flamin’ Hot were launched in Chicago, Detroit and Houston. By early 1992, they were on sale nationwide.

Montañez’s version of events does not fit the timeline.

Montañez’s tale is that he felt empowered to invent Flamin’ Hot Cheetos after watching a motivational video from Roger Enrico, the CEO of the company, that encouraged all Frito-Lay workers to ‘act like owners’ and take charge of the business.

Yet Enrico did not start work until the beginning of 1991 – by which point the product had already been invented, and tested.

Montañez claims that he called Enrico to pitch the idea and that Enrico flew out to Rancho Cucamonga, California, weeks later to witness his pitch in person.

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The next Superman will be black: New superhero movie will feature black lead, director and script-writer

The next Superman movie will feature a black actor in the lead role for the first time ever and a black director at the helm, according to a report Wednesday.      

Ta-Nehisi Coates, the acclaimed novelist who expanded the world of Wakanda for Marvel comics, is also writing the script and is expected to turn it in to Warner Bros bosses in December.

While it will be the first time that a black Superman will appear on the big screen, it will not be new ground for the DC comic icon.

A character called Calvin Ellis was first introduced in 2009 series Final Crisis 7, as a Superman from an alternative universe.

That character is from ‘Earth 23’ where his civilian identity is also the president of the United States. Comic book writer Grant Morrison has said he was inspired by Barack Obama when he created the character.

But there is no indication that it will be this version of Superman who appears in Coates’ script. 

While no director or star has yet been announced there are several candidates for the roles, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

Michael B. Jordan was rumored to be involved in developing a black Superman movie in 2019.

But he has since played down rumors he could be appearing in Coates’ film, telling the Reporter last month: ‘I’m flattered that people have me in that conversation.

‘It’s definitely a compliment, but I’m just watching on this one.’  

It has also been suggested that bosses could pick a relatively unknown name for the new film – as they did when Brandon Routh donned the cape for ‘Superman Returns’ in 2006.  

Previous Supermans include Christopher Reeve, Tom Welling in Smallville and Dean Cain in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman. 

The last time that Superman was seen on screen was in the 2017 film Justice League, where the character was portrayed by Henry Cavill. 

As for who will direct the movie those in the running are said to include Barry Jenkins, Ryan Coogler, Steven Caple Jr., J.D. Dillard, Regina King and Shaka King.

Jenkins directed Oscar winning Moonlight, Caple Jr. worked on Creed II and Regina King was behind One Night in Miami. 

Shaka King is best known for directing and co-writing Judas and the Black Messiah.

J.J. Abrams will produce the new film, but is not among those being considered to direct. A source said that to hand him that role would be ‘tone deaf’. 

‘To be invited into the DC Extended Universe by Warner Bros., DC Films and Bad Robot is an honor,’ said Coates in a statement. ‘I look forward to meaningfully adding to the legacy of America´s most iconic mythic hero.’

Coates is best known as the author of bestsellers including ‘Between the World and Me,’ ‘The Beautiful Struggle’ and ‘We Were Eight Years in Power.’ 

Since 2016, he has also penned the Black Panther comics for Marvel, with artist Brian Stelfreeze, a run concluding with a final issue in April. He was thanked in the credits of Ryan Coogler’s 2018 film ‘Black Panther.’

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WA Ballet hires new executive director

West Australian Ballet has appointed international businessman Olivier David as its executive director, after a lengthy national search.

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Company director behind tourism ‘mecca’ dream slapped with 20-year ban

A bid to turn a small beachside area into Australia’s next tourism mecca is all but over with the man behind the scheme banned from fundraising and advertising financial products for 20 years.

The Mayfair 101 group purchased a resort on Dunk Island in 2019, as well as almost 200 properties in the town of Mission Beach, 2.5 hours drive south of Cairns, as part of a plan to turn them into holiday rentals.

The company launched a slick advertising campaign and threw several lavish parties on the island and in Mission Beach, promising investors high returns.

But the plans unravelled as the cyclone-damaged island was repossessed and several legal challenges were launched by investors, some of whom lost their life savings.

In a Federal Court judgement on Monday, Justice Stewart Anderson said Mayfair 101 founder James Mawhinney had engaged in “misleading and deceptive conduct” and had a “total disregard for the Corporations Act and the ASIC Act”.

“And as a consequence, places the public at great risk of financial loss should Mr Mawhinney not be restrained,” Justice Anderson said in his judgment.

Justice Anderson also expressed concern about what had become of the funds invested and whether Mr Mawhinney “stands to benefit personally from those schemes”.

But he noted Mr Mawhinney had not been the subject of a criminal conviction, nor was there any evidence that the alleged had engaged in “conscious dishonesty or an intent to defraud”.

He banned Mr Mawhinney from advertising investments and seeking or accepting funds from the public in connection with financial products for 20 years in Australia.

ASIC deputy chair Karen Chester said the judgement demonstrated “firms need to do the right thing by their investors”.

“The online advertising is misleading by claiming to offer products that involve less risk, when in reality, investors could lose some or all of their investments.

“Advertisements also claimed investors could get their invested money out when they wanted but that was not the case.”

The ABC understands Mr Mawhinney is living in a unit at Mission Beach.

For sale signs now line the town’s streets, as houses that were initially sold to Mayfair 101 are re-listed through various receivers.

Retiree Nick Stipis sold two South Mission Beach properties to Mayfair 101 — his private residence and a holiday home.

The latter deal was honoured, but the sale of his residence was never settled, so Mr Stipis terminated the contract after multiple requests by Mayfair 101 to extend.

Mr Stipis said he was one of the lucky ones because he had not been left out of pocket.

“We have heard of people that are involved in bridging finances and sales fallen through — more than a dozen people that I know of that have done it tough,” he said.

“Most of them are elderly who were looking to downsize or sell out and move closer to family.”

Mr Stipis said there was initially a sense of “euphoria” when Mayfair 101 came to town, but that’s now changed.

Mayfair 101 was last month found guilty of making false, misleading and deceptive statements while advertising its investment products.

A penalty hearing in that case is scheduled for July.

The ABC has contacted Mr Mahwhinney for comment.

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Promising Young Woman director Emerald Fennell wanted to write about murder at age of 7

When she was seven years old and her mother asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, quick as a shot Emerald Fennell fired back: “Actress.”

But after giving it a few moments’ thought, the young Emerald said: “I want to write stories about murder.”

And it’s that dark ambition which has landed Emerald a place in movie history as the first British woman ever to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar.

Her film Promising Young Woman, an uncomfortable “comic horror thriller” about rape, has five Oscar nominations, with Carey Mulligan up for Best Actress and Emerald, Best Original Screenplay.

Following on from Emerald’s Emmy-nominated work on the second series of Killing Eve, it seems the dark thoughts which once kept her awake at night and her childhood fascination with murder have led her to this point.

Emerald Fennell is nominated for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture at the Oscars
Emerald Fennell is nominated for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture at the Oscars

Talking of her childhood, she said: “I read a lot, but didn’t sleep. So I thought about things a lot. About things that would go wrong.

“People climbing in through the window and taking my sister away. Falling down in the middle of the night in the cellar, hurting myself and nobody being able to find me. Mad.

“And then, I suppose, that just developed. I often find that I think horrific things and they come to be unbidden in a weird way.”

Emerald previously penned the second series of hit BBC drama Killing Eve
Emerald previously penned the second series of hit BBC drama Killing Eve

Perhaps no surprise that her hobbies now include collecting taxidermy.

Promising Young Woman, about a woman set on revenge for a friend who was raped while drunk at a party, resonates in the wake of #MeToo, protests following the death of Sarah Everard, and revelations about sexual assault and harassment in British schools.

Although jubilant at her nominations, Emerald, 35, says women have had to wait far too long for a turn in the director’s chair and a place on the Oscars shortlist.

Carey Mulligan is nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for her turn as Cassie in Promising Young Woman
Carey Mulligan is nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for her turn as Cassie in Promising Young Woman

She says: “I feel like I’ve benefited from years and years and years of other people’s work, of other women working tirelessly for years and decades so that someone like me can get my film financed.

“It’s amazing, but I also wish it had happened sooner for all of those people.

“I think we were probably all surprised, naively, that these things are so unusual because in my life, I’ve always worked with so many incredibly talented women – they’re show-running, they’re writing, they’re directing.

“And I suppose you forget that actually, we still have a long way to go.

“I think it just takes a while to turn around a big ship, but it does feel like things are changing.”

The oldest of two daughters, Emerald’s father is jeweller Theo Fennell, whose customers have included the Beckhams, Madonna and family friend Elton John.

Her mum is author Louise Fennell, and her sister Coco is a fashion designer whose clothes have been worn by Rita Ora and Daisy Lowe.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge talk to cadets during a visit to 282 (East Ham) Squadron, RAF Air Cadets, Cornwell VC Cadet Centre, in east London.
Emerald was educated at the same boarding school as the Duchess of Cambridge (right)

Educated at Marlborough College, the same boarding school as Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, she refused to fit the jolly hockey sticks mould. During hated PE lessons a teenage Emerald was ordered by exasperated teachers to stand alone and bounce a tennis ball against a wall.

Her 18th birthday was covered by Tatler, and after a gap year in Paris, where she met her partner, the film and advertising director Chris Vernon, she went to Oxford to study English.

It was there that she was spotted in a play by Keira Knightley’s agent.

Emerald recalls: “I was playing a proper psycho – a psychotic sexual predator. I am just so incredibly lucky that she was there and thought, ‘That’s our girl!’”

Emerald met close friend and fellow Killing Eve scribe Phoebe Waller-Bridge on the set of film Albert Nobbs
Emerald met close friend and fellow Killing Eve scribe Phoebe Waller-Bridge on the set of film Albert Nobbs

Emerald’s film roles include Anna Karenina in 2012 and The Danish Girl in 2015, and she appeared in a number of TV dramas, before landing a role in Call The Midwife, playing Patsy Mount in the BBC hit from 2013 until 2017.

Emerald met Phoebe Waller-Bridge in 2011 when they worked on the film, Albert Nobbs, and they became firm friends.

She took on the lead writing of series two of Phoebe’s award-winning Killing Eve, starring Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh, when the Fleabag star stepped back in 2019.

More recently, Emerald starred as Camilla in Netflix hit, The Crown.

Emerald starred as Patsy Mount (left) on Call the Midwife from 2013 to 2017
Emerald starred as Patsy Mount (left) on Call the Midwife from 2013 to 2017

Always fascinated by the Duchess of Cornwal l, Emerald had asked her agent to look out for a part playing her.

Emerald says: “She’s always struck me as interesting – so much is written about her, but little about her. I discovered how funny and brilliant she is.”

With a nod to her own background, she says: “I’m basically playing a chain-smoking posho standing in a corner making cutting remarks. So it’s not a stretch.”

Emerald will find herself at Sunday night’s Oscars – broadcast from LA and London due to the pandemic – with some other stars of The Crown, including Vanessa Kirby, 33, who played the young Princess Margaret, who is up for Best Actress for Pieces of a Woman, and the Queen herself, Olivia Colman, 47, up for Best Supporting Actress for The Father.

Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker Bowles (left) in the fourth season of Netflix's The Crown
Emerald as Camilla Parker Bowles (left) in the fourth season of Netflix’s The Crown

Phoebe, 35, has described pal Emerald as a “bloody Trojan”. She said: “She’s been working on about 10 projects at once since the day I met her.”

Emerald wrote a ghostly best-selling children’s book series, Shiverton Hall, and an adult novel, dark comedy, Monsters, about a child obsessed with murders.

True to form, Promising Young Woman was shot in LA in just 23 days.

Promising Young Woman has been acclaimed by critics for its tackling of some very dark subject matter
Promising Young Woman has been acclaimed by critics for its tackling of some very dark subject matter

Emerald gave birth to her first child just three weeks after filming and was back in the editing room three weeks later.

She once said: “Work, to me, is like a chocolate digestive – I can never just have one.”

Promising Young Woman is anything but sweet.

Emerald says: “I wanted to make the movie feel like I think a lot of our lives feel, which is that they are beautiful and they are horrific.”

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Danila Dilba launches legal action against Woolworths, NT Liquor Licensing director over Darwin Dan Murphy’s

One of Australia’s largest Aboriginal health services — Danila Dilba — has launched a legal challenge against the NT Liquor Licensing director’s decision to approve Darwin’s first Dan Murphy’s store.

Danila Dilba chief executive Olga Havnen said the health service filed the case in the Northern Territory Supreme Court on Thursday, against the NT Liquor Licensing director and Woolworths Group, the outlet’s parent company.

“I think we have to use every available means to try and stop the development of this particular takeaway outlet,” Ms Havnen said.

“As people in Darwin would know, we are already confronted with a whole range of alcohol-related harms.”

Danila Dilba was one of several Aboriginal health groups angered by the Liquor Licensing director Philip Timney’s decision last December to approve Woolworths’ latest proposal for the liquor outlet, which would be the NT’s largest.

In court documents, Danila Dilba has claimed Mr Timney’s decision was riddled with legal errors and was “illogical and irrational” in parts.

Danila Dilba, represented by lawyers Maurice Blackburn, has asked the court to look at whether community views were properly considered.

The court challenge has also questioned whether the Liquor Licensing director had the relevant power to make his decision and wants it set aside.

Last year, the NT government rushed new laws through parliament to fast-track a decision on the Dan Murphy’s application after several years of failed attempts by Woolworths to get approval.

The laws effectively circumvented the independent NT Liquor Commission, which looks closely at whether applications are in the public interest and assesses their community impact.

The new process — which only applied to the Dan Murphy’s application and three others — also removed the right to review the Liquor Licensing director’s decision at tribunal-level.

In December last year, Woolworths announced the appointment of a panel — chaired by corporate lawyer Danny Gilbert — to review its proposed Darwin Dan Murphy’s development and report back to the supermarket giant’s board.

Woolworths promised it would not begin construction at its site across from McMillans Road until that process was complete.

The panel announced on Monday it would be meeting with concerned individuals and groups in Darwin this week, before hosting a community meeting.

Woolworths Group and the NT Government have been contacted for a response.

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Director appointed for National Aboriginal Art Gallery

A Senior Director to lead the delivery of the National Aboriginal Art Gallery has been appointed, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Chansey Paech announced today.

Tracy Puklowski will take up the role on 24 May 2021.

A media release by Mr Paech says Ms Puklowski will be responsible for leading a project team of five officers with various skills across curation, engagement and project management.

She will also provide input into the design of the art gallery; develop content and programming; and engage with stakeholders in Alice Springs, and nationally, to ensure the ongoing success of the gallery, says the release.

Ms Puklowski has extensive knowledge about the arts, museum and culture sectors, demonstrated throughout her career which includes senior roles at museums, libraries and archives across New Zealand and in Australia. 

Most recently, Ms Puklowski has served as the General Manager of Creative Arts and Cultural Services at the City of Launceston, a major portfolio including directing the Queen Victoria Museum and Gallery and developing a ground-breaking cultural strategy for the City of Launceston.

Ms Puklowksi holds a Master of Arts with Honours in Art History, which included studies in Australian Art, and postgraduate qualifications in Museum Studies. In 2009, she was accepted into the highly competitive Museum Leadership Institute program run by the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles.

In a quote attributed to her, Ms Puklowski says: “The events of 2020 reminded us all of the power of art to bring communities together and provide space for healing.

“I commend the Northern Territory Government for having a vision that puts Indigenous art and knowledge at the heart of Mparntwe, and indeed the country.

“The role of arts and culture in promoting better social, cultural, economic and community outcomes, and as a force for truth telling and healing, is something very close to my heart. The opportunity to drive this project is an honour and a privilege.”


Photo at top: screen capture from the NT Government’s promotional video for the gallery project.

Related reading

Government is recruiting for the national Aboriginal art gallery

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Wallabies 2021: Rugby Australia big decision on whether to keep director of rugby Scott Johnson, Dave Rennie, Andy Marinos,

Update: At the end of 2018 Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle hired Scott Johnson to rein in Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

Now Rugby Australia’s new CEO Andy Marinos, who was coached by Johnson at Wales, must decide whether or not to keep the well-travelled figure as director of rugby.

It can be revealed that Johnson’s contract with RA runs out at year’s end.

Johnson wants to continue in the role.

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‘Second chance’ for York Catholic school board as they look to replace director who left after just one month

York Catholic trustees have been given a second chance to hire a director of education that community members approve of, parents and teachers say following the exit of Robert Hofstatter after just one turbulent month on the job.

After the announcement of his appointment in February, the trustees were criticized for choosing a director who had more than 20 years of experience in the banking world but just three years of teaching as the head of computer science and engineering robotics at a private school.

Community members also questioned why a racialized candidate with more experience in education was not chosen to lead the diverse board.

Kearie Daniel, a parent of two children, said the board has been given an opportunity to “dismantle the anti-Black racism in their classrooms that they claim has been a priority, and they claim they want to do.”

As a founding member of Parents of Black Children, an advocacy group fighting racism at school boards in York Region and across the province, she said she has worked with the board and trustees for three years to help them examine policies.

While the board has listened to stories about the pain caused by anti-Black racism, “they have had a problem in addressing it,” she said.

“This is their chance to hire someone who is able to do that.”

In an email to a constituent obtained by the Star, York Catholic trustee Elizabeth Crowe said the selection of the director of education is done in private by secret ballot.

“This is to protect the confidentiality of all the candidates and the process. There is no record of the vote,” Crowe said, adding she couldn’t comment on the race, sex or qualifications of candidates who apply to the position because they are protected by confidentiality.

“In the end the board can only select from the pool of candidates that apply for the position.”

In a tweet posted Thursday, Daniel wrote, “There have been four directors in as many years at this board. This is a crisis of leadership.”

After Patricia Preston retired in late 2017, Diane Murgaski filled the role until Ab Falconi took over in April 2018. He served until Aug. 31, 2020 and his salary was $235,200, according the 2019 Sunshine List.

Following his departure, Mary Battista stepped in as interim director in September 2020. She announced her retirement in February, then Hofstatter was appointed.

Education insiders say they cannot remember a director of education of an Ontario school board leaving the position after just one month.

The Star attempted to contact Hofstatter to speak about his short tenure at the board, but he did not wish to comment.

Hofstatter was the first to benefit from a change to the Education Act, which removed the requirement that directors of education be supervisory officers that are qualified as teachers. The move was intended to broaden the pool of candidates and boost diversity.

In his last week as director, he sent an email to parents of all 54,600 students incorrectly suggesting the province would issue a “four-week shutdown of schools across Ontario starting Tuesday, April 6” as part of a broader lockdown. He then issued another letter the next day saying the board “apologizes for any confusion with regards to potential school closures.”

Education Minister Stephen Lecce told the Star in an interview Friday that “students in York Region deserve stability and I think the school board will need to work expeditiously to deliver a strong, competent leader who can deliver quality public education for those students.”

He said the hiring decision was “made by the school board, by the trustees, and obviously they are going to have to now move quickly to identify a suitable candidate with the right experience to lead this board forward.”

Tony Pontes, executive director of the Council of Ontario Directors or Education and a former long-serving director of the Peel public board, echoed Lecce’s statements.

He said the board “needs stability as soon as possible,” but appointing an experienced, interim director would be best because “I wouldn’t think that it’s wise for them to rush — you can’t find a good director in a couple of weeks.”



Pontes said he is not aware of the circumstances surrounding Hofstatter’s departure. However, said directors should have experience as a principal and superintendent.

“I believe, like all directors in the province, that those are the necessary qualifications for success,” he said. “It might be a sign that the modified qualifications aren’t in line with success — it may be too soon to draw that conclusion, but it does reinforce the concern that was expressed to the minister about the qualifications change for directors.”

During Hofstatter’s first week as director, he attended a virtual workshop on equity led by Vidya Shah and her colleague Mike Saver in which he made comments so upsetting that the two cancelled all upcoming trainings.

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Director Corporate Services | Mental Health Australia


Deakin, ACT

Reference: 5438303

  • Excellent opportunity to work with a well respected national organisation
  • Use your leadership, communication and strategic skills to contribute to strategic direction, oversee corporate service functions and foster a positive work culture
  • Part-time position (22.8 hours per week) to June 2022, with the option to extend where supported by funding
  • Competitive full-time equivalent salary circa $120,000 plus super plus charity salary packaging options
  • Supportive, family-friendly work environment

The Role

Reporting to the CEO, this multi-faceted part-time position plays a vital role in the successful operations of Mental Health Australia. The key responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Financial Management & Funding

As delegated by the CEO, oversee the proper financial management of the organisation ensuring all financial controls are in place and adhered to, that financial systems are fit-for-purpose and properly implemented and that the organisation is properly resourced to deliver on the Strategic Plan.

Work with the Consultant Accountant and Senior Corporate Services & Finance Officer to coordinate reports to funding bodies, including ensuring funded projects are appropriately financially acquitted.

Human Resource Management

Oversee the implementation of appropriate human resource policies and practices working with the Executive team to ensure appropriate accountabilities are activated through each Director.

Strategic and Policy Issues Management as part of the Executive Team

Analyse and monitor developments relevant to the Strategic Plan and advise the CEO on any relevant action required. Ensure Mental Health Australia staff are informed and understand all Board priorities.

Read the full description and apply now



Application close date

Monday, April 19, 2021 – 5:00pm

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