Debra Ambroise suing the city of Port Arthur for wrongful termination.
Published 6:41 pm Thursday, February 9, 2017
Port Arthur Independent School District Trustee Debra Ambroise is suing the city of Port Arthur for wrongful termination.
Ambroise was a city employee until she was fired for allegedly falsifying her timecard data.
Ambroise herself declined to talk about the case and referred reporters to her lawyer, Larry Taylor with the Cochran Law Firm in Dallas.
Taylor was not available, however, a receptionist said Taylor had instructed her to tell reporters that Taylor has filed suit against the city and that they had no further comment.
It’s not clear when the suit was filed.
The county’s district attorney had been planning to prosecute Ambroise for the alleged theft, but Cory Kneeland, the intake chief with the district attorney’s office said exculpatory evidence came to light in mid-December and the DA decided then they could not go forward with the case.
“Prior to indictment, new evidence came out that showed that a crime was not committed and therefore we refused acceptance on the case we had,” Kneeland said.
Kneeland said Taylor produced a transcript from an internal hearing within the city wherein a supervisor of Ambroise—Kneeland could not recall who—cleared her of any wrongdoing.
“When he (the supervisor) was asked, ‘Did she intend to steal,’ he said, ‘no she didn’t intend to steal.’ And I thought, freakin’-A, that blew my whole case out of the water.”
In addition, Kneeland said the transcript indicated that Ambroise had permission to leave early at her job.
He explained that he wants justice to be done and based on the transcript of the internal affairs hearing, he doesn’t think a crime was committed.
“What she did in my gut tells me was some shenanigans may have been going on, but after that I don’t think it was a crime,” he said.
At the end of the day, he said the DA’s office was not the right place to sort the matter out.
“They should have called us before the hearing,” he said.