SAN ANTONIO – A maintenance supervisor at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center resigned late last month after two female employees accused him of sexually inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
Michael Talamantes resigned on Jan. 20, a day after the women, a city maintenance employee and a contract worker who were both assigned to the massive city facility, detailed their complaints in writing.
Talamantes, a maintenance crew leader, had been placed on administrative leave with pay the same day the accusations came to light, personnel records obtained by KSAT Investigates show.
He is at least the fifth maintenance supervisor at the convention center to be accused of improperly treating female coworkers in recent years.
“I can say that as a woman and as director of this department, it’s important to me and I know that’s important to the women, the other women executives in this department, that this be a safe, a healthy and a welcoming environment for all employees. And it’s not something that we take lightly,” said Patricia Muzquiz Cantor, director of the Convention and Sports Facilities Department.
Muzquiz Cantor said moving forward, either she or an assistant director will be involved in the final hiring of all maintenance crew leaders and building maintenance officers.
Talamantes had worked for convention center less than a year and was promoted to the crew leader position Christmas Eve, personnel records show.
WARNING: Sexually graphic content below
In a two-page handwritten complaint, one female employee said Talamantes attempted to choke her in a bathroom while she was cleaning toilets and then grabbed her buttocks.
She wrote that Talamantes was trying to have sex with her.
During a second incident in a skirting room, Talamantes pulled her pants halfway down before she grabbed them and was able to pull them back up, the complaint states.
Talamantes later told the woman he could not stop thinking about her “pink panties,” according to the complaint.
He also tried to convince the woman to have sex with him in a single bathroom, she wrote.
In a fourth incident, Talamantes again tried to take down her pants, and “while choking” her, tried to assault her, eventually calling her a bit**, the complaint states.
During a fifth incident in an elevator, an aroused Talamantes exposed himself to the woman, she wrote.
The complaint letter did not include a timeline of when the various incidents took place.
In a separate written complaint dated the same day, Jan. 19, a second employee said Talamantes became “very aggressive” after she told him she was not comfortable with him touching her, records show.
She wrote that Talamantes grabbed her buttocks without her consent. He then accused her of sleeping with a male coworker and sent “perverted” and “stalker type” messages to her phone, the complaint states.
Talamantes did not respond to a request from KSAT for an interview Monday.
A woman who answered the door at Talamantes’ home said she was aware that he resigned but claimed he said city officials were vague about why he was being placed on administrative leave.
City officials said neither female employee chose to pursue criminal complaints against Talamantes with the San Antonio Police Department.
Building maintenance officer scheduled to go to trial
A convention center building maintenance officer was arrested last year, weeks after KSAT Investigates exposed footage of him yanking a subordinate’s hair while both were on duty in 2021.
Juan Cortez, who still works for the city, is scheduled to go to trial March 28 on the misdemeanor assault charge.
Cortez was given a five-day suspension shortly after the incident.
A city spokesperson noted Cortez’s then-19-year work history and no previous discipline record when confirming the short suspension.
Additionally, Cortez was moved to another area of the convention center to prevent any further interaction with the woman, the spokesperson previously said.
Building maintenance officer Gilbert Martinez resigned last summer, a day after HR received a complaint that he sent sexually charged Facebook messages to the same employee assaulted by Cortez.
The victim said Martinez previously groped her at work on two occasions, “grabbing all over” in one incident before she ran out of his office.
In one Facebook message, Martinez wrote in Spanish that she “left me all hard.”
In a follow-up message, he asked the woman in Spanish why she couldn’t show him her “tamale,” slang for vagina.
In a third message, written in English, Martinez said he wanted her to kiss his (hot dog emoji).
Another female maintenance employee last year described an incident early in her tenure in which a male supervisor followed her into a room without cameras at the convention center and asked if she wanted to play a game.
She recalled him telling her to undo a button on her blouse each time he said a phrase out loud.
After she filed a complaint, she claims city officials determined there was not enough hard evidence to find him at fault for rule-breaking. She said the supervisor eventually stepped down.
Other female maintenance employees who spoke with KSAT Investigates last year said they were verbally abused by male supervisors.
Muzquiz Cantor on Monday said her department has responded quickly after complaints are filed and encouraged staff members who have experienced or witnessed inappropriate behavior or harassment at work to come forward.
City officials today said the departure of facilities manager Bernard Brown late last year was unrelated to his handling of complaints filed with him by female maintenance employees.
If you are a sexual assault victim (or suspect you may be), there are several resources available in the San Antonio area.