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NDO News: AT&T Opposes Release of Audio Recordings

August 22, 2014
NDO debate at city hall. Photo by Mary Tuma.

NDO debate at city hall. Photo by Mary Tuma.

The City of San Antonio wants a Texas attorney general opinion on whether it has to release audiotapes from the first case filed under the non-discrimination ordinance and AT&T is opposed to the tapes, as well as any other documents, being released.

Sam Sanchez, publisher of the blog QSanAntonio, and Ryan Loyd, of Texas Public Radio, filed an open records request with COSA seeking all documents submitted by complainant Matthew Hileman, including audio files, Sanchez said.

Hileman, a contract worker hired by Resource Global Profession, reported to supervisors that he heard two AT&T employees talking about how they would commit violence against transgender people. Hileman is transgender. According to Hileman’s affidavit filed with COSA, a few days after that conversation he found a “no fag” sign on his chair at work. An AT&T spokesperson told the Current in May that it investigated Hileman’s complaint and could not substantiate the allegations.

Sanchez said all of the documents he requested were released to him, except for the audio recordings, which AT&T said were illegally obtained. According to AT&T’s letter to Sanchez, the recordings are of two AT&T employees and also of voicemail recordings from AT&T and Resource Global Profession employees. Sanchez said the city called him on the phone to inform him that they’d request an Attorney General’s ruling on the audiotapes.

In the letter sent to Sanchez, AT&T’s attorney in the matter, Diego J. Peña, said the company is opposed to the release of all of the documents, including the audiotapes, for multiple reasons, including a lack of process for the NDO.

“Finally, Mr. Hileman’s complaints, affidavits and supporting exhibits should be withheld from disclosure because the City of San Antonio currently lacks investigative and enforcement protocols and procedures for its NDO,” Peña states in the letter. “By Mr. Hileman’s admission, the conversation of the AT&T employees occurred on September 4, prior to the effective date of the City of San Antonio’s NDO. As such, their actions prior to September 5, 2013 — the effective date of the City of San Antonio’s NDO — cannot form the basis for an actionable complaint.”

Hileman’s attorney, Justin Nichols, also represents two women who said they were kicked out of Sanchez Ice House because they were kissing. They filed the second NDO complaint under the new ordinance. Nichols recently said COSA doesn’t have an enforcement mechanism for the NDO.

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