Local News

Feb 10, 2014 1:33 PM by Andrew Ellison - aellison@kristv.com

Cotroneo Withdraws from City Attorney Job, Assistant City Attorney Fired

CORPUS CHRISTI - City Manager Ron Olson announced this morning that Roxann Pais Cotroneo has withdrawn her acceptance of the job offer to become the city attorney for the City of Corpus Christi. He also said assistant city attorney Alison Logan has been terminated as a result of an investigation.

KRIS 6 News was the first to report on allegations that Cotroneo made inappropriate comments to staff on her first visit to city offices. City council members and the city manager were sent an anonymous email detailing alleged comments about race, sexuality and coarse language.

The email says Cotroneo said the following:

  • "I'm 100% Hispanic."
  • "I want you all to know, especially the men, but the women too, that I'm happily married and my husband is so HOT!"
  • "I can't have children, but my husband and I tried, and I mean we really tried hard, if you know what I mean!"
  • "You need to know that I cuss a lot and I'm going to be dropping some 'F-bombs' around here."

During the investigation by the city and the Corpus Christi Police Department, Cotroneo denied that she said anything inappropriate as detailed in the email. However, interviews with employees who were present during her first visit with city staff suggest otherwise.

The summary of the city legal investigation states "a majority of the individuals interviewed reported that they were not offended by the comments."

The findings of the investigation determined Cotroneo did not violate policies, but "the comments made by Ms. Cotroneo and topics covered by her during the staff meeting were inappropriate for that setting."

No one has come forward to claim responsibility for the email sent under the pseudonym 'Chris Smith' from a Yahoo! account.

According to the documents received from the city, Alison Logan's firing is in response to her recommending at least one city employee seek the advice of former city attorney Carlos Valdez about what they should do after meeting Cotroneo in that staff meeting.

Valdez told KRIS 6 News he received calls from city employees claiming they felt scared and intimidated as the investigation started.

Officials determined employees did not follow the proper procedures to address a grievance.

The city will now have to start the process all over to find a new city attorney.

Olson also said the City Legal Department will now have a performance assessment.

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