Raymond Z. Ortiz
Public Regulation Commission
The Public Regulation Commission tried to keep Martin de la Garza, a former employee, from attending public PRC meetings. Ortiz rejected the PRC’s request by saying the allegations by commission members were “not credible,” immediately restoring de la Garza’s rights to appear at future meetings.
In June of 2009, de la Garza was fired after seven and a half years as a civil engineer with the PRC. The PRC claims that de la Garza took $5,000 from a utility company while de la Garza claims that he was fired because he was a whistleblower who uncovered corruption at the highest levels of the PRC. The State Personnel Board upheld de la Garza’s termination but de la Garza is appealing the decision. De la Garza has brought several cases against the PRC since then.
After that, a water company hired de la Garza as a consultant. De la Garza planned on attending the PRC’s public meeting on Sept. 16, 2010, but said four men stopped him. One of the men was a PRC investigator who threatened to arrest him if de la Garza did not leave the premises.
In the month prior, de la Garza says a state police officer called him at home and told him his "privileges have been revoked” and that he could not attend future PRC public meetings.
After each side had filed temporary restraining orders and injunctions against each other Judge Ortiz ruled against the PRC, saying from the bench that “Mr. de la Garza has not acted in a manner at PRC meetings or with PRC staff that would justify” granting a temporary restraining order and “I am entering a preliminary injunction prohibiting the PRC from issuing any order preventing Mr. de la Garza from attending an open meeting of the PRC.”