Auditor says city of Houston suspended him for discovering alleged misuse of government property

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Nov. 21, 2013, 1:54pm

HOUSTON - The city of Houston and City Controller Ronald C. Green are being sued by an employee who claims he was suspended for uncovering alleged wrongdoing.

Friendswood local Peter D. Ngo initiated legal action against the defendants in Harris County District Court last month.

Houston federal court received the lawsuit on Nov. 19.

Ngo, who is employed by the respondents as an assistant city auditor, explains he was looking at the Audit Division's information technology system and network last June when he discovered that a tenured city employee was "committing a crime by intentionally and knowingly misusing government property."

According to the suit, said employee was purported to have been performing accounting services for H&R Block using city equipment for four years.

Ngo's direct superior, City Auditor David Schroeder, was then informed of the plaintiff's findings.

Initially pleased with what Ngo did, the suit says, Schroeder soon became less supportive after speaking with his own superiors and Green.

It shows Schroeder, who is not a party in the case, presented the claimant's report to Green last June 21 only to be told it "would cause the City Controller office to appear corrupt during an election year," stating Ngo was criticized for not being "a team player."

A month later, the defendants "abruptly and indefinitely" suspended Ngo to which the latter insists was a move to protect Green and his office.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Eric C. Dowdy of Houston is representing the plaintiff.

Case No. 4:13-CV-3423

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