Late Wednesday afternoon, the Houston Independent School District completed the retaliation against the Chief Internal Auditor Richard Patton for reporting criminal violations of law to the FBI.
Patton was informed by the H.I.S.D. Human Resources Department that his contract was not being renewed and he was sent home. This occurred just weeks after H.I.S.D announced Patton was returning to work after a nearly five-month long suspension.
“In early August, Richard Patton filed a whistle blower lawsuit against H.I.S.D because his first suspension was clearly an act of retaliation. The Houston School Board has now responded by adding insult to injury, says Attorney David Feldman of the law firm of Feldman and Feldman. “They have doubled down on the retaliation, and their campaign to silence the public’s watchdog.”
In March, Patton was first suspended by H.I.S.D. under the guise he had a staffer scan some personal documents over a two-year period, even then it was obvious what the
real motivation was.
On more than one occasion, Patton had discussed possible public corruption with police and federal agents. The suspension in March also followed Patton’s discovery of possible criminal wrongdoing in HISD administration of JOC contracts. The reporting to the FBI was intentionally left off H.I.S.D. bond reports.
HISD hired a law firm to investigate Patton, but after a $17,000 investigation, HISD brought Patton back to work. On his brief return, Patton was effectively silenced, the ability to conduct sensitive investigations removed.
In silencing Patton, the District has also deprived the public of the fundamental right to know about the use of their tax money.
Richard Patton’s treatment by H.I.S.D has already led Houston State Senator Paul Bettencourt to call for a statewide inspector general to conduct investigations of School Board Members.Letter to Texas Sen. Bettencourt