Former TABC board executive says she was fired for reporting conflicts of interest

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Amy Harrison, former director of licensing for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, has alleged in a federal lawsuit filed Monday that she was forced out of her post because she reported conflicts of interest involving the agency’s new commissioner,  the Houston Chronicle reported.

Harrison was fired in July 2017, allegedly due to her extravagant travel expenses. She and six others lost their jobs after media coverage showed the costs of out-of-state trips in which TABC officials partied with representatives from the beverage industry, the newspaper reported.

But Harrison claims that she lost her job after she reported that Kevin Lilly, appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott, held stock in companies regulated by the agency. In the suit, Harrison said she took her concerns to executive director Ed Swedberg and to the agency’s counsel, who agreed there could be conflicts.

Harrison said she was soon asked to resign, but declined to give up her job at the agency for which she had worked for 27 years. She was soon fired for going outside the TABC’s chain of command, according to the suit.

TABC spokesman Chris Porter told the Chronicle he could not comment on pending litigation; Harrison referred questions to her attorney, John Melton.

Melton told the newspaper that Harrison seeks back pay and her job back.

“We look forward to presenting our case to a jury,” he said.

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