The Texas lottery fired a senior systems analyst on Friday, hours after a newspaper reported that he had sent a scathing e-mail to two state lawmakers claiming that the agency misled the Legislature about an emergency control center that he says doesn't work.
Shelton Charles told The Associated Press that he was fired Friday afternoon for insubordination after he refused to answer lottery officials' questions about the emergency operations center unless they put them in writing.
Lottery spokesman Bobby Heith said he couldn't discuss Charles' allegations and couldn't confirm or deny his firing because both are personnel issues.
Charles' Wednesday e-mail to state Reps. Corbin Van Arsdale and Ismael "Kino" Flores, chairman of the House Licensing and Regulation Committee, was made public in Friday's editions of the Houston Chronicle.
Charles said the lottery's disaster recovery or business resumption site, which the Legislature required state agencies to develop in the mid-1990s, has never been operational. The site is meant to allow lottery employees to carry out their duties if a disaster destroys the agency's headquarters. Flores is looking into Charles' allegations and is seeking more information, said Milda Mora, chief clerk for the committee the Democratic lawmaker heads. She said she didn't know if he'd schedule a committee meeting to discuss the claims.
In his e-mail, Charles also said the agency tries to block public information requests that might reveal wrongdoing and bullies employees into silence.
Charles said he wasn't surprised that he was fired, adding that he decided to go public with his concerns when he received a negative job performance evaluation, which led him to believe that he was going to be fired anyway.
"When I made the decision, I made it with the understanding that this could happen," he said.
Charles, who is black, said he recently filed an employee discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, citing unequal salary, treatment and advancement opportunities at the lottery.