A former district judge who left the bench while snared in balmy controversy has brought a breach of contract suit against Valero Energy, seeking to extract more than $6 million in damages from the oil giant.
Layne Walker, a current Provost Umphrey attorney and former judge of the 252nd District Court, filed his suit April 14 in Jefferson County District Court.
A little more than a month after having another civil action brought against him, Walker opted to leave the bench in January 2014 to work for Valero as a tax attorney.
In his suit, Walker says Roy Martin Jr., who was vice-president of the ad valorem property tax section of Valero at the time, promised him he would make so many millions of dollars that he would be able to buy his own jet plane if he came to work for Valero.
Several meetings between Walker, Martin and PU took place. Walker agreed to resign as district judge and work for Valero for a three-year period. His pay package consisted of a $50,000 a month salary and a reverse contingency of 33 1/3 percent for any reductions in ad valorem taxes resulting from Walker’s efforts.
During his first year on the Valero payroll various problems cropped up. Walker discovered Martin was padding his expense account, many times charging expenses to the company under another individual’s name, the suit alleges.
Walker also learned Martin expected Walker to buy various items for him. For example, Martin told Walker to buy him a John Deere tractor and deliver it to his ranch. When Walker refused, his $50,000 salary fell into arrears.
For tax year 2013, Walker maintains he saved Valero $15 million in taxes, entitling him to $5 million, which he never received.
Walker alleges Valero breached its contract by refusing to pay him his regular salary, let alone his reverse contingency.
He is seeking damages in excess of $6 million.
Before Walker left the bench, the Record reported on a civil action brought against the former judge.
On Nov. 23, 2013, local blogger Philip Klein sued Walker after the he had one of Klein’s employee’s arrested. The Klein employee had attempted to serve the judge with a lawsuit while the former judge was holding court.
Also, in December 2013 Beaumont attorney John Morgan accused Walker of setting a special prosecutor against him for reporting to the DEA and FBI that the District Attorney’s Office was allegedly involved in an illegal narcotics operation.
Judge Walker presided over Morgan’s divorce from his ex-wife. Morgan claimed the former judge terminated Morgan’s parental rights – an act Morgan alleges was done in order to hide the judge’s ongoing crimes.
Walker also dealt with several accusations of racism while on the bench.
Activist Quanell X pushed for Walker’s removal for what he called excessive sentencing of minority defendants.
Walker is represented in part by Jon Burmeister, attorney for the Beaumont law firm Moore Landrey.
Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, has been assigned to the case.
Case No. D196-997