The whistleblowers who sued Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton say they’re headed back to court unless he agrees to include in a formal agreement that the Legislature must approve their proposed $3.3 million settlement before the current legislative session ends in May.
They are the four former aides to Paxton who allege he fired them in retaliation for reporting him to federal authorities for bribery and abuse of office. Their lawyers said Wednesday they were “forced” to file a motion in an Austin appellate court Wednesday asking for the case to resume.
In a joint statement, the lawyers said a deadline of the end of session for payment was the “fundamental premise upon which they asked us to negotiate in the first place.”
“So we’ll go back to court, where the taxpayers will end up paying more to defend (the Office of the Attorney General) than they would to settle this case,” the lawyers said. “We would still settle the case if the Legislature approved the payment this session, but we cannot and did not agree to give OAG the benefit of a settlement while the whistleblowers wait in perpetuity for legislative approval.”
The attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
James Blake Brickman is represented by Thomas A. Nesbitt and William T. Palmer of DeShazo & Nesbitt.
J. Mark Penley is represented by Don Tittle and Roger Topham of Law Offices of Don Tittle.
David Maxwell is represented by T.J. Turner of Cain & Skarnulis.
Ryan Vassar is represented by Joseph R. Knight of Ewell Brown Blanke & Knight.
OAG is represented by solicitor general Judd E. Stone II, Lanora C. Pettit and William F. Cole of the Office of the Solicitor General and William S. Helfand and Sean O’Neal Braun of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith.
This is a developing story. Check HoustonChronicle.com for updates.
The case number is 21-1027.