Valero Energy has denied entering into an agreement with a former district judge who sued the energy giant for breach of contract, seeking to extract more than $6 million in damages.
Layne Walker, a current Provost Umphrey attorney and former judge of the 252nd District Court, filed his suit April 14, 2015, in Jefferson County District Court.
Walker opted to leave the bench in January 2014 to work for Valero as a tax attorney.
However, on Nov. 24 Valero filed an amended answer, denying that it entered into an agreement with Walker, court records show.
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.
Valero maintains that it does not enter into contracts involving ad valorem tax.
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.
Valero denies that there was a three-year contract or that there was any sort of reverse contingency fee agreement between the parties.
Walker is seeking damages in excess of $6 million.
Walker is represented in part by Jon Burmeister, attorney for the Beaumont law firm Moore Landrey.
Valero is represented in part by Randy Fairless of Johanson & Fairless in Sugar Land.
Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, has been assigned to the case.
Case No. D196-997