Three staff members of state Rep. Jolanda Jones have resigned, alleging the Houston Democrat created an “abusive and hostile” work environment.
Chief of staff Kory Haywood, legislative director Catherine Mouer and district director Yesenia Wences alleged in a letter to Jones obtained by The Texas Tribune that Jones tasked staff with tasks unrelated to state business, required them to regularly perform work outside of business hours and regularly threatened to fire employees.
“We, as a collective of senior staff, have repeatedly attempted to curb your behavior and address the type of work environment you have bred over the last month,” the letter states. “But, to no avail; we haven’t seen any success.”
The former employees also alleged that Jones had failed to intervene in what they characterized as an inappropriate relationship between the lawmaker’s son, Jio, and an intern in the office. They also said the lawmaker directed staff to assist in arranging health care for a relative.
Jones said in a statement Thursday that working in the Legislature stressful and demanding, describing a “daily fight” on behalf of constituents.
“Some on my staff have decided this job is not for them,” Jones said. “I wish them good luck and success in their next endeavors.”
Cassi Pollock, spokesperson for House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, said the speaker’s office learned of the complaints against Jones on Wednesday, which would be reviewed to evaluate whether the lawmaker broke any House rules.
“The Speaker’s office takes all allegations seriously and expects that this matter will be addressed and resolved as soon as possible,” Pollock said.
You can read the full letter at the link. This is all I know at this time, so I’m not going to get ahead of whatever this turns out to be. I’m sure we’ll hear more soon enough.
UPDATE: The Chron has more.