By Duane Stuart, Backgate Website
Well it's official, after a phone conversation i had with Ms. Lyons earlier today, she verified a lawsuit has been filed in her behalf in Federal Court for the Southern District of Texas. The suit claims that the TDCJ unfairly targeted her with harassment and retaliation after she revealed internal issues with departmental time keeping.
It is also believed that she was harassed for having contact with this website, in an official capacity, by relaying official information to our site for stories as she would anyone else. Ms. Lyons later resigned after several false charges were leveled against her by Brad Livingston and Bryan Collier. In an email to the Backgate, Lyons advised us that she was being harassed, and that the TDCJ brass were disciplining her for no reason. She stated that in a meeting during that time with Deputy Director Bryan Collier, that he made the remark " We should have just fired you back then". A sure sign of what was to come from the administration. Their contention was that Lyons was what they termed "A lighting rod for the agency" when it came to Senate Criminal Justice Chairman John Whitmire, who both Livingston and Collier publicly don't care for. Then they questioned her as to why she was treating us like a media source and releasing official information to us. She countered that she believed us to be, based on our audience of Correctional Staff, to be agency employees and deserved to know what was happening in their agency. Not to mention the fact that we as blog with no formal advertisement anywhere, gather anywhere from 10-15 thousand hits per day from all over the world.
We broke the Michelle Lyons issues here on this site, and have felt her pain more then once in our 14 years running this type of website. TDCJ is not only vindictive in dealing with employees that speak out against them, but has been known to openly retaliate and harass anyone identified as such. Sometimes for just reporting illegal activity or policy violations. Something that the video recruits are shown in training depicts as wrong, and how they should come forward. After breaking this story, some of our own staff became targets of the TDCJ brass. About the time our story broke, one of our own was denied a promotion within the agency after already being approved as Huntsville later learned of his identity. What they didn't count on was a paper trail, and Huntsville insiders who ultimately believe in the constitution as well as doing the right thing. In that case, a well known attorney has offered services and is confident justice will eventually will be served.
We will not be intimidated TDCJ.... Sooner or later the taxpayers will demand accountability for the millions lost in lawsuits over a TDCJ administrators pride and ignorance. My hats off to Michelle Lyons for standing up for whats right, and not being intimidated by TDCJ officials for doing the right thing. TDCJ has never been transparent as an agency, and Michelle did more good for them then they will ever realize by being forthcoming to the general public, to include us. Like we said before, the agency just flashed back 20 years in how it deals with the public after losing her. More to come....
Click here to see the original lawsuit filed in Federal Court (courtesy of Texas Justice.org)