Two lawsuits have been filed involving personnel practices in the Constable Precinct 2 office, run by Constable Chris Diaz.
The original Petition to the state court was filed last June, in which Plaintiffs Jerry Luman, the Chief Deputy, and three others claimed retaliation, demotions and terminations for their part in a “whistleblower” report. Defendants named were Constable Diaz, Deputy Lee Hernandez, and Harris County. Diaz and Hernandez were subsequently removed from the Defendants, due to restrictions in the state laws.
The whistleblower report had involved the accusation that Lt. Kim Bellotte had misused resources that were meant for Hurricane Harvey victims, and filed incorrect time cards in relation to that effort. The charges included Diaz distributing tee-shirts printed with his name, even though they were donated as flood relief. The Texas Rangers investigated these reports, and no charges were filed.
The second lawsuit was filed in December, in federal court, and eleven plaintiffs claimed discrimination and abridgment of their first amendment rights of the U. S. Constitution, due to the personnel actions similar to the complaints in the first lawsuit, and an additional charge that they were required to support Chris Diaz financially and personally in his political campaign. Named as defendants were Constable Chris Diaz, Mayor Ana Diaz, and the city of Jacinto City. In a statement to the North Channel Star, Constable Diaz said that there was no merit to the charges, that personnel were assigned to enhance the efficiency of the office, and to better serve the public.
The second lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs’ attorney Scott Poerschke, in the United States District Court Southern District Texas. He also represented the plaintiffs in the first lawsuit in state court. That procedure has been scheduled for a trial in August 2020. The plaintiffs have asked for a jury trial, and are demanding reinstatement to similar jobs, back pay, and compensation for damages.
The county is also a defendant and the Assistant County Attorney working on the case is Laura Beckman. She told the Star that they will seek to have the charges dismissed prior to a trial date.