GALVESTON – A Southeast Texas county is the target of a former employee’s whistleblower lawsuit.
Kevin B. Davis’s suit against Matagorda County alleges the county terminated him from his position on the Precinct 3 road and bridge maintenance crew earlier this year for reporting department head and County Commissioner James Gibson to the defendant’s human resources department and the Texas Rangers.
In court documents filed on May 24 in the Galveston County 122nd District Court, Davis asserts Gibson devised a scheme in which scrap iron was sold and the funds generated from sales were placed in what was called a “Kitty Box.”
“The issue(s) in this case involve application of the Texas Whistleblower Statute and whether the plaintiff’s report to the Texas Rangers concerning Commissioner Gibson’s managing the intake and sale of scrap iron was ‘a’ cause of the plaintiff’s termination,” the suit says.
Davis discovered that residents “would drop off scrap iron to the Precinct 3 office location,” and Gibson instructed the plaintiff and his co-workers “to haul the scrap iron to certain scrap yards.”
The suit says the plaintiff contacted Gibson after a motor vehicle accident rendered him unable to work to ask if he “could receive an advance from the Kitty (Box).”
After the commissioner declined Davis’s request, the original petition states, the complainant met with HR staff last January and was instructed to “provide a written report regarding the scrap iron operations and Kitty.” Davis then spoke with Ranger David Chauvin the following month.
Chauvin subsequently visited Gibson’s office and seized the Kitty Box, to which the suit says raised the ire of Davis’s immediate supervisor and one of his co-workers.
According to the case, Gibson himself was displeased with Davis notifying the Rangers about the Kitty Box.
The defendant purportedly fired the plaintiff at the end of last February for insubordination. He unsuccessfully appealed the termination.
Consequently, Davis seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.
Mark Frasher of the law firm Reaud, Morgan & Quinn, L.L.P. in Beaumont is representing the complainant.
Galveston County 122nd District Court Case No. 18-CV-0678
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