An attorney representing former Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald and two computer workers, who were all fired this summer, said the city is hiding facts related to the case, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Stephen Kennedy, who represents Fitzgerald as well as former information technology department employees William Birchett and Ronald Burke in their whistleblower lawsuits against the city, said a city attorney provided a witness with a supposed transcript of an audio recording that was missing several pages of dialogue, the newspaper reported.
According to Kennedy, the recording was made Dec. 16, 2018, by Texas Department of Public Safety auditor Oswald Enriquez, during a conversation that Enriquez had with Fitzgerald, Birchett, Burke and other city employees about possible data breaches, the Star-Telegram reported.
Enriquez is in charge of ensuring that the city follows federal and state rules for maintaining the confidentiality of certain information in the National Crime Information Center, to which it has access.
Kennedy called the deletion “no innocent error,” but city officials said the mistake was made by a transcription service they hired.
The city released a statement that said the recording was made secretly by Enriquez while he spoke with city employees and that it had no obligation to transcribe the recording, which Enriquez provided.
“No misrepresentations were made, and Mr. Kennedy’s statements to the contrary are baseless,” said the statement from the City Attorney’s Office, according to the newspaper.
The city provided a letter from the transcription service that said the last 35 minutes of the conversation were not transcribed because the audio could not be heard well enough, but the Star-Telegram reported a city attorney wrote that she disagreed with that decision.
Kennedy notes that page 50 of the transcript includes the words, “Recording ends,” and a court reporter certification that the transcription is complete.
“There is no ambiguity in saying that the recording ends,” Kennedy said. “The words ‘recording ends’ do not mean that I cannot hear the rest of the recording. It means the recording stops.”