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Meanwhile, Our Texas AG Needs to GO


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He's been the classic 'sleazy lawyer' for a long time, and he has continued on with his behavior while in office. He needs to resign. 

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2020/11/13/whistleblower-lawsuit-filed-against-texas-attorney-general-ken-paxton/


Whistleblower lawsuit filed against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Four current and former employees are suing Paxton, alleging the Republican attorney general retaliated against them after they accused him of abusing his office to help a friend and donor.

FILE - In this June 28, 2020, file photo, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton waits on the flight line for the arrival of Vice President Mike Pence at Love Field in Dallas. Several current and former employees who recently accused Paton of serious crimes sued him this week claiming retaliation. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
FILE - In this June 28, 2020, file photo, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton waits on the flight line for the arrival of Vice President Mike Pence at Love Field in Dallas. Several current and former employees who recently accused Paton of serious crimes sued him this week claiming retaliation. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)(Tony Gutierrez)

By Allie Morris and Lauren McGaughy

10:04 AM on Nov 13, 2020

 

AUSTIN — Several former employees have filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the embattled attorney general of Texas, potentially exposing the state to steep financial liabilities and Ken Paxton to further questions about alleged wrongdoing.

The plaintiffs said Paxton retaliated against them after they accused him of abusing his office to help Nate Paul, a campaign donor and friend whose home and business was raided by the FBI last year. Their complaint, which further details the relationship between Paxton and Paul, painted a picture of an attorney general so determined to help Paul that plaintiffs said he repeatedly defied and eventually denigrated his own hand picked staff.

“Paxton responded to the report [of alleged wrongdoing] immediately and with ferocity, as though he was trying consciously to show Texans exactly what retaliation against whistleblowers looks like,” the lawsuit read.

A spokesperson for Paxton did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit. He has previously denied he retaliated against these employees.

 

The plaintiffs include four current and former employees who recently submitted whistleblower complaints against Paxton with the agency’s human resources department: James “Blake” Brickman, David Maxwell, J. Mark Penley and Ryan Vassar. Brickman and Penley, both deputy attorneys general, and Maxwell, the agency’s director of law enforcement, were fired.

 

Vassar, who has been on investigative leave since mid-October, is the only plaintiff who remains employed with the agency. He is the deputy attorney general for legal counsel. Three other former employees who resigned after signing the whistleblower letter are not parties to the suit.

The litigation adds to the darkening legal and political cloud hovering over Paxton, a Republican who has faced fraud charges in an unrelated case since 2015. He could be deposed and made to respond under oath to these new allegations.

The Dallas Morning News reported last month that Paxton has personally intervened at least four times on a range of legal matters before his agency that involved or helped Paul since March. The intervention that kicked off the mutiny among his top staffers occurred when Paxton brought in an outside lawyer over their objections to probe Paul’s accusations against the FBI. He claims agents who raided his home detained him against his will and doctored the warrants used for the search.

Paul, a prominent Austin-based real estate developer, also alleged that several people, including lawyers and a federal bankruptcy judge, were scheming to seize his properties.

The lawsuit also included more information about Paxton and Paul’s friendship.

The two men met regularly this year, the suit stated, “usually without Paxton’s staff or security detail present.” Paxton also uses prepaid mobile phones, according to the plaintiffs. They briefly mention that Paxton allegedly had an affair with a former legislative staffer who now works for Paul.

 

The News broke the story about the alleged affair on Nov. 5.

The whistleblowers claim in the suit that Paxton began helping Paul in November 2019, earlier than previously reported, when Paul was seeking documents about the FBI raids from various government agencies.

 

Paxton repeatedly contacted Vassar about the document requests, the suit stated, telling him he had spoken with Paul personally about the matter and did not want to “help the FBI or [Department of Public Safety] in any way.” The plaintiffs claimed that at one point, Paxton took confidential FBI documents home with him for at least a week.

Eventually, the attorney general pressured staff to release records they deemed private about the FBI raid to Paul, according to the lawsuit.

In the spring, Paxton then attempted to use the agency’s charitable trusts division to help Paul as he battled the Roy F. and Joann Mitte Foundation, an Austin-based charity locked in a financial dispute with Paul’s businesses, the lawsuit alleged.

Against the advice of top staff, Paxton directed the state agency to intervene in the dispute to “pressure the charity to reach a settlement favorable” to Paul’s entities, the suit added. In July, Brickman and another former top staffer talked Paxton out of appearing personally in the matter, “which would have been an unprecedented event as Paxton has not appeared in any court on behalf of the OAG in years.”

Since raising their concerns, the plaintiffs said they’ve been humiliated at work, criticized by Paxton and his spokespeople to the press, stripped of responsibilities and eventually fired or put on leave. They claimed Paxton’s new second in command, Brent Webster, had confronted staff while accompanied by an armed guard, in a “needless and unprecedented, banana republic-like, fashion.”

The attorney general has denied abusing his office to help Paul. He said he was doing his job to defend the constitutional rights of Texas citizens and accused his staff of blocking an ongoing criminal investigation.

 

Paxton promised to look into these “rogue” employees actions.

“Making false claims is a very serious matter and we plan to investigate this to the fullest extent of the law,” Paxton said in a statement last month.

The staff deny these allegations.

“The potential and certainly-intended effect would be to chill further revelations about Paxton’s wrongdoing and try to smear the good name, character, and reputation of these public servants. Paxton’s actions were straight out of the playbook he had been running against the enemies of his friend and donor Nate Paul,” the plaintiffs claimed.

If the employees win their case, the state could be on the hook to pay hundreds of thousands — or even millions — in lost pay and benefits, attorneys fees and damages. Michael Maslanka, an assistant professor at UNT Dallas College of Law, said the plaintiffs have a strong case against Paxton.

They were fired or put on leave within weeks of raising concerns and at least one plaintiff was promoted earlier this year, bolstering their argument that Paxton retaliated against them, Maslanka said. To win, the employees need to convince a jury they would have kept their jobs if they hadn’t spoken out.

 

“There doesn’t have to be a smoking gun,” said Maslanka.

“Before I engaged in this protected activity, everybody loved me,” he said, echoing the plaintiffs' argument. “After I engaged in this protected activity, I got the ax.”

The plaintiffs are seeking reinstatement to their jobs, according to the lawsuit, as well as the recoupment of seniority rights and retirement benefits. They asked for a jury trial.

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These things need to get to a court room. Instead of this pretending to accuse. If the man has done these things--then lock him under the jail and throw away the key. I don't have a problem with that at all. I am tired of stories--get it in the court room and try this person--then we can move on. 

 

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On 11/13/2020 at 1:35 PM, DannyZuco said:

These things need to get to a court room. Instead of this pretending to accuse. If the man has done these things--then lock him under the jail and throw away the key. I don't have a problem with that at all. I am tired of stories--get it in the court room and try this person--then we can move on. 

 

Hey I agree with you and can we also say this for all regardless of party? 

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31 minutes ago, BarryLaverty said:

And now the FBI has gotten involved. Is this who we want heading up law enforcement in Texas, just because he has an R by his name? 

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/11/17/texas-ken-paxton-fbi/

 

Is this the same FBI that colluded with dimtards to oust Trump?  Asking for a friend....

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8 minutes ago, CarthDawg77 said:

Is this the same FBI that colluded with dimtards to oust Trump?  Asking for a friend....

So, that's where your dumb 'friend' is now? Disrespecting national law enforcement because of conspiracy theories and your hero Trump who is corrupt to his core? 

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6 minutes ago, BarryLaverty said:

So, that's where your dumb 'friend' is now? Disrespecting national law enforcement because of conspiracy theories and your hero Trump who is corrupt to his core? 

Actually, Barry, I consider YOU my “dumb friend”....😂

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I am actually FOR getting rid of Paxton.  Let's get an honest Republican AG in here.

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59 minutes ago, MavGrad99 said:

I am actually FOR getting rid of Paxton.  Let's get an honest Republican AG in here.

Me too, but sometimes you just gotta take that shot while it’s there; Barry makes a dandy target for a shot like that!😂

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19 minutes ago, BarryLaverty said:

Think we might have the word 'friend' twisted. Yours mean someone who wouldn't spit on you if you were on fire? Then, we are on the same page. 🙄

Boy, you are nice to your friends. I would've said "use the restroom on you" LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

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2 minutes ago, BarryLaverty said:

I tried to come up with variations on urination, but it didn't feel right! 😏

Urination--that is such a funny word. 

Reminds me of the Lil' Johnny joke. 

Teacher ask students to give her a 3 syllable word. 

Lil Johnny raises hand and say "urinate" 

Teacher not to be mean--asks Lil Johnny to use it in a sentence. 

he says "Urinate, but if you had teets, you'd be a 10". LOL 

Thanks for making my day--we've shut down this week and I hate working from home. 

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So four people say he did something wrong, and that’s enough for you to say he needs to go? Or is it the R by his name?

If he’s found guilty, lock him up. But when someone comes out and says President Harris violated a policy, you won’t want her thrown out on her rump over 4 whistleblowers unverified reports.

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