Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ex-TDCJ PIO Michelle Lyons files lawsuit against TDCJ for harassment/retaliation she endured after blowing the whistle against the agency



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.

Michelle Lyons
It was also learned that a Houston based reporter went to visit Senator Whitmire at his office for some information. As they spoke, she mentioned the Michelle Lyons issue happening within the TDCJ. She (the reporter) states that Whitmire became visibly agitated and stated " She should have been fired 2 years ago, she had to be removed from a meeting because she was smacking her gum, and being disinterested in what was going on." A charge Lyons rejects by stating " I was never in a meeting, other then a Senate hearing with Senator Whitmire, and that just isn't true." She goes on to say that Whitmire, nor anyone else had an issue with her, and that she has no idea where the disinformation came from. Our only guess is that either Whitmire has memory loss issues or that he has been speaking to Livingston and Collier who are clearly attempting to save there own skins at this point. Senator Whitmire may have stuck his foot in his mouth regarding this incident. He is still an elected official and should represent all people equally.

 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)

17 comments:

  1. Well, good luck as you know the battle is now with the state of texas. All i can say if a inmate david ruiz can win that battle,so can you.

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  2. Good for her. It is high time someone brought TDCJ-ID administrative troglodytes to their knees. Sometimes, people in law enforcement & corrections adopt the practices of those they serve. Sorry pigs.

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  3. Good luck, Michelle. Get more lawyer than you need...I always do.

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  4. Way to go. I'm going through similar problems at my unit and am also speaking to a lawyer about my options. federal eeo and labor rights can not be broken and when they are these people need to be held accountable. more news to come.

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  5. Having had a similar experience with another (but, related) state agency I know that the higher ups certainly detest us "whistle blowers," but if you have any sort of conscience and actually DO face yourself in the mirror each morning I say, "Keep blowing those whistles! It's the right thing to do." Good for you Ms. Lyons. You've done the right thing.

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  6. I do not like the term "whistle blower." I think these individuals are doing what is right. If we citizens do not monitor OUR goverment: they will monitor US. Hang in there: yours is a "good fight."

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  7. Michelle, keep up the good fight and just know that many of us are behind you! What you are about to embark on shows your tremendous determination to dedication to right a wrong. Fighting corruption has never been easy but hang in there. Good luck and go get'em.

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  8. I see some signs of hope in the Texas judicial/prison system. This is definitely one of them. It will take strength, perseverance, and the certainty that you're write. But you're on the side of the angels, Ms. Lyon. And you just might find that there are angels who will stand by you in your fight.

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    1. With all respect that you deserve from me, I agree with you. Ms. Lyons is an ANGEL that came to TDCJ to do the right thing. I haven't met no one to be so HELPFUL as Ms. Lyons was when I request help to TDCJ.

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  9. Now look at Whitmire's response. If that isn't a good ole boy response. That in itself speaks of gender and age discrimination. He needs to grow some hair. ha

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  10. Get EM Michelle!! They definitely need to be held accountable for their wrong doings. Michelle represents every TDCJ state worker who has ever stood up for what is right and got slapped down for doing so. I hope she wins and TDCJ has to pay out the Butt for it.

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  11. The higher ups never cared for the hard work I done for TDCJ. The State always got a honest days work out of me. The inmates were not the problem it was the higher ups in Huntsville. I miss my job but not the crap. I never got paid all the hours worked. Should have got EEOC to help me out. Look at the time sheets. Michelle come on out and expose all TDCJ dirt. Don't take the fall by yourself.

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  12. It is sorry that this is the only way justice can be done. I know for a fact of another law suit going on right now involving another ex tdcj employee against tdcj for racial dicrimination and retalliation. Its funny how when you file the internal eeo with the state agency they do nothing. This is you the employee asking for help and they do nothing. And its sorry you pretty much have to be fired or resign to have money affected before the EEOC will do anything. At that point it is still a long process of justice and the whole time the people to include huntsville theirselves have their jobs before you ever see an ounce of justice. In which case the corruption is bad in tdcj and this is just one state agency and its safe to say im sure this stuff exist in all the departments. How bad is uncertain. This should really tell you where our elected officials loyalties lye....their pocket books. Shit like this just encourages me to run for any office that i can work for TEXANS at and expose the things i do know. But im an everyday person with an everyday wage and cant afford to run for crap...and that is why we keep getting the wrong people in office. The everyday people will do a better job than the ones with money who bought their way to office(and i dont mean that in a corrupt way). When you have money things become easier.

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  13. Somebody should check into how they treat their volunteers. These people save taxpayer money and help out TDCJ. But if they don't like you, get jealous of your real heartfelt service, they conjure up lies, supported up the chain at TDCJ, and get rid of you. No appeal, just lies.

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  14. Ms.Michelle Lyons you are one angel that came to do the right thing in TDCJ. I admire you for all you have done while in your duty. God bless you and you will be victorious in this fight. Not only me and my husband but a lot of people loves you and pray for you. Keep your faith in doing the right thing!
    Sincerely,
    Viridiana Rivera.'.

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  15. I too have seen TDJC high ranking staff falsify documentation against inmates and during incidents of brutality. I have refused to go along with their treatment of people. I have also refused the advances of a few high ranking officials. Subsequently I was accused of a wrongdoing, investigated and threatened. Hope someone hands their a$$ to em eventually.

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  16. pave the way for the rest of us MICHELLE.. I am on my way too. I am so tired after 20 years and this last thing was the straw that broke the camels back. I cant talk about my issue but it will be hitting the press very soon.
    I have seen so much wrong in the agency, its sad !....

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