Tom Class, retired head of the FBI in Dallas and town manager of Trophy Club, has claimed whistleblower status after speaking out concerning a conflict of interest regarding at least one city official. Class spoke with Texas Rangers concerning his accusations and sent a former letter to Trophy Club’s mayor asking for protection from retaliation.
Trophy Club, located approximately 23 miles northwest of Fort Worth, is home to about 13,000 residents.
Town Council Member’s Wife Accused of Suspicious Investments
According to NBC local affiliate NBC 5, the letter to the mayor described how Class had been asked by a council member in a closed meeting in late March whether he had met with law enforcement officials. He admitted he had.
Class claims in his letter that the council member “… immediately pointed his finger” and aggressively instructed Class to resign. In response, Class refused and told the council “… you are going to have to fire me.”
Both Class and the council member have refused to speak to the media about the incident or the letter. The council member did say he was looking forward to discussing the issue further in an open meeting.
Prior to the meeting, Class had notified the mayor and council members via email that he had a matter of “extreme importance” to discuss at the next meeting. He explained in the email that the matter had to do with a conflict of interest regarding a specific council member and his wife’s investments. According to Class, the woman had invested in a development that was receiving tax incentives from Trophy Club.
The council member’s attorney stated the family had divested itself “well before” Class had raised ethical concerns and that the council member had not benefitted financially from the investment. That attorney declined to comment on the whistleblower request stating that he was not involved in that case.
Trophy Club’s mayor has also declined to comment on the matter but did say the council would be discussing the issue at their next meeting.
What Protections are Whistleblowers Granted?
Whistleblowers who come forward with information about unethical behavior and other wrongdoing are eligible to receive protection against retaliation for their actions. This includes protection of whatever job or position they hold within an organization. Assuming Class will be granted whistleblower protection, the council will not have the authority to remove him as town manager.
Furthermore, whistleblowers might be entitled to a portion of any proceeds recovered from an investigation into the wrongdoing they reported.
For instance, if a whistleblower were to report insider trading to federal authorities, they would likely receive a portion of the money recovered after compensation was given to any defrauded investors harmed by the scheme.
It is not known whether Class would be eligible for any compensation, nor is it known whether or not he is seeking anything other than whistleblower protection for sharing the information he claims to have.