Lawsuit against DPS alleges corruption, claims cover-ups compromised Longview murder case

Plantiff alleges ‘culture of cronyism and outright corruption’
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Updated: Nov. 28, 2018 at 2:34 PM CST
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday against the Texas Department of Public Safety alleges “a culture of cronyism and outright corruption.” The suit claims policy violations have led to crimes being covered up that has impacted high-profile cases, including a Longview murder case.

The suit was filed by Ty Clevenger, an attorney for Darren Lubbe. Lubbe is a former DPS investigator with the Criminal Investigation Division and was stationed in Mount Pleasant. He is seeking a jury trial and damages and he asserts his rights were violated and that he was denied due process.

In 2014, Lubbe says he was pressured to join a “cowboy church" by his supervisor. He alleges his refusal “triggered an ongoing campaign of harassment from the captain and his cronies” that eventually led to a negative performance review and him being “harassed into an early retirement.”

Lubbe claims the conflict escalated during his time at the department and that his religious devotion was questioned as he was pressured to attend the church in order to be accepted.

Lubbe describes an exchange between him and his captain in the lawsuit.

“So does that mean that the only way I can be accepted is by going to your church?” The captain replied, “Yes, you need to come to my church,” and the captain seemed aggravated and agitated by the Plaintiff’s question. This was ironic, because Captain Milanovich behaved like a foul-mouthed heathen during the week, yet he wanted everyone he worked with to know that he considered himself a devout Christian.”

He also describes multiple other incidents he says occurred between him and the captain.

In November 2016, Lubbe filed a confidential complaint with DPS' Equal Employment Opportunity office. He says he was then contacted by another lieutenant who learned of the complaint. Lubbe believes the “only plausible explanation is that someone inside the Office of Inspector General notified the Plaintiff’s chain of command.”

This behavior allegedly continued after his retirement, the plaintiff claims, leading to him being fired from a teaching job at Texas State University.

The Plaintiff did not particularly want to air DPS’s ‘dirty laundry,’ but enough is enough. The Defendants were sworn to uphold the law, and they thumbed their noses at it. Now it’s time to hold them accountable.

This “corruption” bled over into cases, the lawsuit argues, including the Ronnie Horaney murder case, after a Texas Ranger allegedly became involved in a sexual relationship with the victim’s wife.

"In January of 2018, DPS supervisors discovered that Ranger Brent Davis was involved in an ongoing sexual relationship with Faezeh Pour Mogahdam Horaney of Longview.

That might not be noteworthy but for the fact that Ranger Davis was also leading the investigation into the May 30, 2016 murder of Mrs. Horaney’s husband, Ronald “Ron” Horaney, a well-known businessman who was gunned down in front of his house. According to rumors within DPS, Ranger Davis helped Mrs. Horaney recover proceeds from her husband’s life insurance policy.

Either way, Ranger Davis badly compromised the murder investigation, rendering his testimony worthless at trial and raising questions about whether he diverted investigative attention away from his mistress. Notwithstanding his gross misconduct and potential criminal activity, he was allowed to keep working for DPS as a law enforcement officer. Senior DPS commanders quietly demoted him from Ranger to trooper, but they told him that he would be eligible to re-apply for appointment as a Ranger within one year, i.e., as soon as January of 2019."

The lawsuit names the following defendants:

  • Defendant Mark Milanovich is a retired CID captain who was stationed in Mount Pleasant, Texas. He was a supervisor in the Plaintiff’s chain of command.
  • Defendant Christopher Mulch is a CID lieutenant stationed in Mount Pleasant, Texas.
  • Defendant Christopher Brock is a CID special agent stationed in Mount Pleasant, Texas.
  • Defendant Brian Perry is a CID special agent stationed in Mount Pleasant, Texas.
  • Defendant Brandon Negri is a lieutenant in the DPS Office of Inspector General in Garland, Texas.
  • Defendant Jeoff Williams is a major and the director of DPS Region 1 in Garland, Texas
  • Defendant Rhonda Fleming is the DPS Inspector General in Austin, Texas.
  • Defendant Thomas G. Ruocco, is the chief of the CID division Austin HQ, Texas.
  • Defendant Steven C. McCraw is the director of DPS in Austin, Texas.
  • Defendant Manny Flores is a member of the Texas Public Safety Commission, which oversees DPS.
  • Defendant A. Cynthia Leon is a member of the Texas Public Safety Commission.
  • Defendant Jason K. Pulliam is a member of the Texas Public Safety Commission.
  • Defendant Randy Watson is a member of the Texas Public Safety Commission.
  • Defendant Steven P. Mach is the chairman of the Texas Public Safety Commission.
  • Defendant J. Pete Blair is the executive director of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (“ALERRT”) at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.
  • Defendant John Curnutt is the assistant director of ALERRT.
  • Defendant Russ Claggett is a senior regional manager for ALERRT.
  • Defendant Marty Adcock is a regional manager for ALERRT.
  • Defendant Armando Ramirez is a regional manager for ALERRT.

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