Championships are also a time a dozen. There are probably a hundred “national” and “international” tournaments all over the country every weekend. Take the organization I train with, Taekwondo America. At their tournaments, both regional and local, there are about 1000 competitors. Within a specific division, for example, 20-30 year old first degree black belt women, there may be 50 competitors. To get the tournament completed in a reasonable time, they break the division into groups of 10 to 12 competitors and send each group to a ring to compete. Within each group, trophies are awarded. So within that that division, there may be three or four 1st place trophies awarded. This is great for business, but it does not mean a 1st place trophy winner was the best in the division at the tournament. However, for the rest of their lives, the competitors will brag about their first place trophies in a national tournament.
Good luck in your quest to find the truth about your instructor. You appear to be a wise woman with a lot of healthy skepticism, but with all the interlocking phony organizations, it is nearly impossible to verify anything. If you probe too deeply, the instructor will just tell you to leave the school, and then he will just continue as he has before.