Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jury verdict favors TYC whistleblower

A wrongful termination complaint against TYC resulted in a jury verdict in favor of an administrative law judge after he complained about tainted parole practices and was fired in 2008, the Dallas News reports ("Jury sides with ex-TYC Judge Koustoubardis, saying he was fired for reporting misconduct," Oct. 12):
A former administrative law judge for the Texas Youth Commission was awarded $700,000 by a Dallas jury last week after jurors agreed that he was fired for complaining about misconduct by fellow judges.

"It has been a long road," said Christopher Koustoubardis. He said he wasn't surprised that the jury found in his favor, but he was disturbed that "the people that instigated this whole thing against me are still there, and the abuse that I reported is still going on at TYC."

In March 2008, Koustoubardis told the TYC ombudsman and others that his supervising judge had met with a police officer prior to a parole hearing and tried to influence the officer's testimony as a witness. He also said the judge instructed him to rule a certain way in the hearing, which he did not do.

A few months later, Koustoubardis helped the ombudsman's office investigate a complaint about another judge tampering with a government record.

"[In] these two cases that I reported, the kids were not getting a fair trial at the parole revocation hearings," Koustoubardis said.
This isn't the first employee who courts have found to have been illegally terminated in the wake of TYC's widely publicized sex-abuse scandal, though the firing came prior the current executive director, Cherie Townsend, coming on board. This is the first, though, that I've heard of complaints regarding judges in parole revocation hearings - I'd like to learn more about the details of the cases that got this whistleblower fired.

9 comments:

R. Shackleford said...

Jeez. Just when you think you can't possibly get any more cynical about texas "justice".

Anonymous said...

Koustoubardis didn't actually work for TYC.

Anonymous said...

I guess TYC will constantly be licking their wounds since they can't seem to stop making up employment law as they go along.

Anonymous said...

The tyc licking their wounds, that’s funny, too bad that’s not all tyc licks. It’s what keeps them a troubled agency. They can’t help themselves, not even Judge Justice could do anything with tyc’s wretched culture. Try to do right by a kid and get put out, abuse a kid get promoted. And were all ok with this???

Anonymous said...

It is not surprising to hear about TYC terminating an employee for not going along with improper conduct. I worked at TYC for 12 years with outstanding service and evaluations. I was reassigned departments and began being harassed after I began questioning the Finance Department's illegal practice of double billing the Federal Government millions over the course of 15 years. I was retaliated against and ultimately fired. Glad they finally got their just desserts.

Anonymous said...

I learned about level hearings being 'rigged' while reading "Raped by The State". Real change does not occur in TYC. If you support youth, your career will be harmed. If you abuse youth, you have a good chance of being promoted. More TYC culture shock.

Anonymous said...

I hope to get that same damn jury to hear my pending lawsuit against the dysfunctional agency before they get shut down.

Anonymous said...

To the person on 10/12 who said Koustabardis did not work for TYC, you are mistaken. He did work there and was in charge of doing Parole Revocation Hearings - we call them level 1 hearings. Also if you were let go under the conservatorship, I think there is really nothing you can do. Those who were let go before that or since then maybe you can use this same attorney to help you. Honestly the fact that TYC has again been caught out by a whistleblower, maybe many more cases will come out and the agency can be seen for what it is and shut down or at least fixed.

Anonymous said...

Hey there Scott -

You were wondering about the cases that got this former employee fired? Well basically the youth was there for a Level 1 hearing - that is a hearing to revoke parole and send a youth back to state school. The youth had been arrested for something and right before the hearing started, Kaci Sohrt called Mr. Koustabardis and told him what evidence should be admitted and how he was to rule on the pieces of evidence. Also before the hearing, the parole officer took the cop into his office and and called her and over the phone Kaci basically told the parole officer and cop what to say during the hearing. This is a direct violation of the youth's rights and is a violation of the ethics that are to be used by members of the State Bar. Mr. Koustabardis complained about her actions and was fired a little while after that.