SAN ANTONIO – A maintenance supervisor at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center was fired this month after a workplace investigation found he sent sexually inappropriate text messages to a woman who worked under him, records obtained Wednesday by KSAT Investigates confirm.
Maintenance crew leader Roland Garcia’s termination came weeks after he took part in anti-harassment and sexual harassment training at work and just days after female maintenance employees filed a lawsuit against the city-run facility, alleging they were subjected to sexual harassment, sexual assault, battery and verbal abuse by their male supervisors.
Garcia is at least the sixth maintenance supervisor at the convention center to have been accused of improperly treating female coworkers in recent years.
Last month, the city’s Equal Employment Opportunity administrator conducted an investigation that uncovered Garcia’s inappropriate messages.
Garcia told a female maintenance employee via text message that he was “Gonna lay next to you,” as well as kiss emojis, city discipline records show.
Other inappropriate messages sent by Garcia were found during the city’s investigation of him, his termination paperwork states.
Garcia had attended anti-harassment and sexual harassment training hosted by a human resources director as recently as March 3, the paperwork shows.
City officials issued Garcia a notice of proposed termination on April 21, before formally terminating him effective May 2.
KSAT Investigates exposed pattern of abuse in 2022
The suit filed last month in state district court claims that under the watch of Convention and Sports Facilities Director Patricia Muzquiz Cantor, the convention center “has become a den where male supervisors prey on their female subordinates.”
Attorneys for the women have indicated that they plan to seek class-action status, and other potential victims could be added to the suit.
The legal filing relied heavily on KSAT Investigates’ past reporting on the issues.
A KSAT report last summer showed that female maintenance employees were subjected to incidents that included hair pulling, groping, verbal abuse and receiving inappropriate sexual messages from supervisors.
Then-Building Maintenance Officer Juan Cortez was charged with misdemeanor assault following the report, which showed footage of him grabbing the hair of a female maintenance employee near a convention center loading dock in August 2021.
He had previously been suspended five days for the incident and moved to another area of the convention center to prevent any further interaction with the woman.
Convention center officials, however, allowed Cortez to return to work while his criminal case was pending.
Cortez retired from his position last month.
He is tentatively scheduled to go to trial early next month.
WARNING: Sexually graphic content below
A separate maintenance supervisor at the convention center, Michael Talamantes, resigned early this year after two female employees accused him of sexually inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
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.