Councilmember ‘suspicious’ of leadership at Houston Airports System following sexual harassment, retaliation complaint

‘It is a serious situation and it is pretty disheartening that someone in the city is experiencing that.’

KPRC 2 Investigates

HOUSTON – Houston city councilmember Tiffany Thomas said she is “suspicious” of the current management team at the Houston Airport System.

Thomas is not the only one suspicious over the operations of the Houston Airport System.

Councilmember Michael Kubosh made his concern known during Wednesday’s city council meeting with a direct question to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

“What is the status if you can tell us on the Airport Sexual Harassment matter?” Kubosh asked.

The question to Turner is focused on a sexual harassment and retaliation complaint first exposed by KPRC 2 Investigates on Dec. 1.

The complaint, which was filed by a former employee with the city of Houston’s office of the Inspector General, is against the Airport System’s director, Mario Diaz, and his girlfriend Maricela Kruseman, who also is one of his subordinate employees.

Turner’s response to Kubosh’s question?

“Well, councilmember, I will have to get back to you on the latter one,” said Turner after Kubosh asked the mayor three separate questions involving city operations.

The exchange by Kubosh and Turner was the only mention of the matter during the weekly council meeting.

However, councilmember Thomas expressed her concerns afterward.

“It is a serious situation and it is pretty disheartening that someone in the city is experiencing that,” said Thomas.

KPRC 2 Investigates attempted to ask Turner about his concerns over the harassment and retaliation claims involving the airport director last week, but the Mayor remained silent on the topic and walked out of the council chambers.

On Wednesday, Turner left the city council meeting early, before a question could even get asked.

Thomas made it clear that the case involving Diaz and Kruseman is important to the city.

“It has to be a priority because again, it is going to set precedence on how we operate,” said Thomas.

City Attorney Arturo Michel, whose office is handling the former employee’s complaint, explained to KPRC 2 Investigates where things stand in the OIG’s investigation.

”There is sometimes a process during an investigation as to when the order of complaints, but I can tell you the process is proceeding,” said Michel.

The OIG is under the umbrella of the city of Houston’s Legal Department. Multiple experts and officials have called on the city to conduct an independent investigation by outside parties.

Thomas says she hopes there is “integrity” with the city’s internal process.


About the Author: