Dallas County Deputy Wins Whistleblower Suit

 

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It has been 13 long years since a Dallas County Deputy Constable was fired for whistleblowing. After reporting testifying to a grand jury about a bribery scheme, Deputy Armando Gonzales was fired. The scheme was perpetrated by Gonzales’ boss Precinct 5 Constable Aurelio Castillo.  A legal battle lasting 12 years recently ended with a whistleblower victory.

Gonzales was awarded $163,000 for pain, loss and suffering. In what can only be described as a futile waste of taxpayers money, the county spent an absurd $1.2 million fighting the case. Most of the legal fees stemmed from using an outside legal counsel instead of relying on the county’s own legal personnel.

Gonzales’ attorney, Emil Lippe, estimates that the county spent a million dollars more than it needed to. The jury also awarded over $440,000 to pay for Gonzales’ legal costs. Attorney Lippe is also asking for interest on the sum owed to Gonzales due to the length of the proceedings. Attorney Lippe believes that interest should amount to $100,000.

In 1997 Gonzales told grand jurors that Castillo forced him to warn local bail bond companies that the office wouldn’t arrest their bail jumpers unless they contributed to Castillo’s campaign.

Castillo was indicted on bribery and other charges. He was acquitted of bribery but convicted of accepting an illegal campaign contribution. After the conviction in 2000 Castillo remained in office pending an appeal until he was defeated in the Democratic primary.

Dallas county faces further problems with corruption as there are more whistleblower suits to address. Most of these claims are filed by current or past deputy constables and are indicting recently resigned Constable Jaime Cortes. These cases also involve unjustified firings and other forms of retaliation for taking whistleblower actions.

Gonzales is glad the ordeal is over and said that more important than the money is that he is vindicated and not a liar. Gonzales suffers a number of ailments and needs $500 worth of medication every three months. The money from the settlement will allow him to live a normal life and have a happy retirement, a just reward for doing the right thing.

 

Sources:

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/editorials/stories/DN-hitsandmisses_27edi.ART.State.Edition1.4b7fd04.html

http://crimeblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2010/11/dallas-county-deputy-constable-8.html

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/crime/stories/DN-constable_23met.ART.State.Edition2.4b707a4.html

 
 
 

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