"I had no idea it was as large as it is," Colley said, from his Maple Heights living room. "I knew it was big, but to grow to the magnitude it is at this point, I would never have believed it."
Colley was a parent in the school system in the late 1990's when he began looking into what he called "inequities" at the time.
His examination of public records led him to draw up a flow chart in 2001, which detailed what he believed to be a pattern of questionable activity.
"When you get involved, you find out that sometimes the system is not correct," he told WKYC. "Sometimes you have to take action. And it may take a long time but you have to be persistent."
Colley took detailed notes of his findings and was visited a number of times by federal agents who examined his findings and the tentative conclusions he was beginning to draw, to compare them with the information they were compiling themselves.
"There was an FBI agent with me here and he told me this right before all this went public in 2008," Colley remembered.
"He stood up and shook my hand and said, 'Mr. Colley, we have all the technology and you did this with hard work and perseverence and stuck with it.'"
"He shook my hand and that was my reward."
Colley says he had help from other parents, teachers, and residents who had some of the same suspicions he had, and were demanding answers from their elected officials. It took years, but he's glad they all got involved.
"You can make a difference in life," he said. "You just have to be persistent and stick with it, but you also have to do your homework and be right and do what's right."
Colley recently published a book detailing his investigation. It is called "Never Give Up: Connect the Dots."
"That's exactly what I tried to do," he said, "to connect the dots. And the ones I connected were very much the same as the ones the FBI connected."