Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Senator Whitmire makes statement to Backgate regarding ex-TDCJ PIO Michelle Lyons

By Doug Glass, Backgate Website

Weeks after our last story regarding the departure of TDCJ public information officer Michelle Lyons, and how it was facilitated by the agency hierarchy and her firing back with a federal lawsuit, State Senator John Whitmire has once again spoken. Lyons, who was allegedly targeted and unfairly disciplined by the agency after what she states was whistle blowing, and doing the right thing, stated that she was told by agency admin not to funnel any information while she was PIO to Whitmire's office. Whitmire serves as the chairman of the Senate's Criminal Justice Committee and ultimately oversees the agency as far as legislative powers go.

Weeks after Lyons was no longer employed by the agency, a reporter from a Houston based press outlet sat down with Whitmire for another story, but mentioned the ordeal with Lyons. Whitmire allegedly stated to that reporter that Lyons "should have been fired years ago" and that he himself had witnessed her during a meeting he attended being " rude, and disinterested while smacking her gum." Well, of course we went to Lyons for her side of the issue. Lyons says the only meeting she ever attended with Whitmire was at a local Houston news shoot and story at the Carol Vance unit in Sugarland that dealt with a church based program. Whitmire was present, but not offender family members. When we contacted Whitmire for his take, he stood his ground. He stated in a voice mail phone message to the Backgate that Michelle was rude to the offender family members as she was disinterested and acted as if she didn't want to be there.

When we spoke to his office prior to his phone call, we let him know that Ms. Lyons found his account of the ordeal not only untrue, but slanderous. In his response to us via voice mail, Whitmire adds that he stands by his statements regarding Ms. Lyons, and at one point stated " bring it on"  (legally if need be) in regards to Lyon's claim that he was slanderous in his account. He left no mention as to whether or not he actually stated that she should have been fired "way back." Ms. Lyons did state that she recalls to have been ill during that meeting at the Vance unit, and that she had high fever. She further stated that she was never chastised by her supervisor (Bryan Collier) who was also present at the meeting and never knew she was seen as rude.

It seems to be a stalemate, but at least we have the story as represented by both sides. We don't know first hand, and have no dog in that fight. If he did state that she should have been fired long ago, he was out of line to state that publicly in any regard. In the end, I believe like most that TDCJ did harass and retaliate against Lyons due to her cooperation with this website in providing public information as we requested it, and by reporting a time keeping issue within the department. We supplied the information she provided us, as do many other information outlets, to thousands of people all over the state. Social media is the new TV, print and radio news. Senator Whitmire has long been an Alli of this website and has assisted in many ways over the years. Although we would like to give him the benefit of the doubt in this instance, a bit more investigation should have been conducted by his office into why TDCJ wants him out of the loop, rather then why Lyons acted disinterested in hearing an offender's family speak at a photo op. I mean after all, he is the Senate lead over Criminal Justice, and the agency has bigger corrupted fish to fry.


  1. Twitmire himself is one of those corrupted fish. He stinks up the entire room.

  2. I think it's sad that his entire opinion of Miss Lyons is based on one meeting years ago. The reporters thought a lot of her, the comments on here have been positive about her, but he dislikes her because she wasn't cheery enough when she saw him at a unit when she was ill? Are you kidding? I mean, should we all base our opinions of him on that one time he was falling down drunk at the Cloak Room in Austin and the server cut him off so he had her fired? I guess so. Wait - I see a similarity here. In both cases, he picked on some young woman who had the balls to stand up to him, and both of those women ended up without a job. And in both cases, their male bosses were too cowardly and weak to stand up to him and remind him that he isn't on charge of Human Resources for the Cloak Room, or TDC. It takes guts to run a prison system and so far, I'm underwhelmed with the current regime. It's time for Livingston, Little Napoleon Collier and Twitmire to go.

    1. Way to go man. Get rid of Der Twitmire and Collie Dog. They hurt us more than help. If fact, everything above the unit level needs to be replaced. Out with the old.

  3. Texas History lesson, since 1994 or so Texas GOP has held the majority in the Texas Senate, Texas GOP also has held the majority in the Texas House. Why then is a Texas Democrat the CHAIRMAN on any committee House or Senate?

    In the Texas Senate assignments on committees including Chairman are made by only one man, Lt Gov David Dewhurst. I suspect Chairman (Senator) Whitmire has his assignment for one of a few reasons, no one else wants the job, Or perhaps LtGov put Senator Whitmire where he can not do any harm to Texas. The Texas Prison system is not a priority in the larger plan, Have a made the case to vote Ted Cruz for US Senate I wonder?

  4. Yes, Whitemire seems to awaken in a new world every day, particularly when he receives a phone call from death row. I left the agency he helped gut. It would be unkind of me to call him a pinhead, so I won't.

  5. The part of the story that he always neglects to say in public is that he GAVE Richard Tabler his cell phone number. Tabler called Whitmire at his office and Whitmire then gave Tabler his cell phone number and told him to give him a call later, which of course Tabler did. Whitmire loves to tell reporters and the folks sitting in on the hearings that he was so scared and feared for his life? If that's the case, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have said, "hey - here's my cell, give me a shout!." That's just not really something you do when you are terrified for your life. He's nothing but a slimy little liar who will say anything to get attention. I know he's got a big war chest but damn, can't someone run against his wormy ass and get him out of office?

  6. question

    why is it that this web site always sounds like the the middle sibling.... all the he said she said. and most of the content is just hear say and not much truth to the reporting....just sayin

  7. well anonymous, your entitled to your opinion. But as it pertains to this story, feel free to call John Whitmire and have him tell you himself if it makes you feel better about it.