Friday, April 20, 2001 Volume 66, Issue 137



Former TSU police chief files whistleblower suit

Cordell Lindsey was dismissed in January

Cougar News Staff

A former Texas Southern University police chief is suing the university, alleging that the administration dismissed him in retaliation for reporting a violation by a fellow employee of the school.

Cordell Lindsey filed the whistleblower suit in Harris County district court after he was terminated for starting an investigation on TSU special events director Tiffany Thompson.

The suit alleges that the criminal investigation started when Thompson reported an alleged theft from her office on campus to the TSU police department.

"During the investigation, Lindsey discovered information that led him to suspect that Tiffany Thompson had deposited the missing funds in her own bank account and reported the funds as missing to hide the theft," the suit reads.

Lindsey began consulting with the Harris County District Attorney's Office at the beginning of the case. After several meetings with assistant district attorneys, a grand jury subpoena was obtained. It was served on Lydia Borbin, who was the interim TSU human resources director at the time, in order to obtain the name of Thompson's bank.

A second subpoena was later acquired and served on Thompson's bank for her records, the suit states.

The suit alleges that Thompson complained to Elizabeth Rodriguez, TSU's in-house legal counsel, and to TSU President Priscilla Slade.

The actions spurred a meeting, the suit continues, in which concern was expressed that the investigation was "harassing" Thompson.

Lindsey was also asked if he had "cleared" the subpoenas with TSU officials before they were issued and served. The suit argues that in 13 other instances, Lindsey had not been required to obtain approval from the administration.

After several meetings, on Jan. 26, Lindsey was called into his supervisor's office and handed a memo, which terminated his employment for violating "investigative protocols."

Lindsey was hired by TSU as a police officer in August of 1990. He was promoted to sergeant, lieutenant and then, in March of 1998, to chief of police.

The suit states that more than 61 days have elapsed since Lindsey started an internal grievance process at TSU and that the filing of the lawsuit terminates that grievance process.

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