John Suayan Aug. 8, 2016, 11:39am


The Houston Independent School District’s chief audit executive has filed a lawsuit on claims the school district suspended him for reporting alleged splitting of job order contracts and misuse of district bond funds.

In court papers submitted Aug. 5 before the Harris County 295th District Court, Richard Patton, a six-year HISD employee, explains that he informed the defendant’s police department, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the purported violations of law. Patton reported said violations “in good faith,” the original petition asserts.

HISD suspended Patton with pay last March to which the suit argues went against the Texas Whistleblower Act. The suspension was for “allegations that did not require suspension or even an investigation at all,” the suit says.

Patton adds that HISD Board President Diana Dávila spoke to the media about his suspension to the point of damaging his reputation.

Patton returned to duty earlier this month, but the school district stripped him of several responsibilities, including but not limited to those pertaining to ethics and compliance, the suit says.

The school district reportedly did not renew Patton’s contract, which is set to expire on Aug. 31.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney David M. Feldman of the law firm Feldman & Feldman in Houston is representing the complainant.

Harris County 295th District Court Case No. 2016-51917

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