SAN ANTONIO – Two lawsuits filed in Bexar County District Court this week accuse assistant county manager Tina Smith-Dean of creating a hostile work environment, court records show.
The suits, filed separately on June 1, claim that Smith-Dean targeted two employees, one of whom was transferred from the budget department to purchasing last year after filing federal complaints related to Smith-Dean’s treatment of her.
That employee, Alexandria Millan, remained employed in the purchasing department as of Thursday, more than a year after county officials said she was removed from her budget analyst position to “help track expenditures related to the county’s COVID-19 response.”
County officials on Thursday did not respond to an inquiry from the KSAT 12 Defenders about whether Millan’s position remained in the proposed purchasing budget for next fiscal year.
“I never thought that I would be stepping into a soul-crushing and demeaning environment that thrives on causing harm to others. I had never seen this behavior in previous workplaces. The extent to which I have been subject to bullying, harassment, and retaliation is unconscionable. Indeed, it got to the level in which I requested the assistance of the US. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Instead of dismissing my case, the EEOC granted me the ‘right to sue,’” Millan wrote in a statement included in her 38-page lawsuit.
Millan’s suit claims that she began to be targeted by Smith-Dean at work after questioning some budget expenditures.
The other employee, Nancy McClure-Soto, retired from her administrative coordinator position last summer, months after being placed on administrative leave by the county.
McClure-Soto, according to the suit, had accused Smith-Dean of harassment and bullying as far back as 2018 in a letter to County Manager David Smith.
“In that letter she expressed the toxic work environment created by the Assistant County Manager, Tina Dean-Smith, who was directly under his chain of supervision. It is plaintiff’s belief that the letter was directly shared with the Assistant County Manager as Mrs. Smith-Dean then began an overt campaign to attack and retaliate against the plaintiff,” the 54-page suit states.
In February 2020, McClure-Soto was placed on leave after a list of coworkers accused her in written statements of taking photos or videos of them, intimidating them at work and disrupting their work environment.
Surveillance video released by the county last summer appeared to show McClure-Soto taking photos or recording video as co-workers walked off of an elevator inside the Paul Elizondo Tower. Multiple coworkers said the actions made them feel upset and uncomfortable, records show.
McClure-Soto, however, said she had taken photos of the elevator and reception areas for years as part of her job duties, documenting displays and other items that needed to be cleaned or organized.
Several of the coworker complaints were sent less than an hour apart, according to records provided by the county.
Four of the statements were sent to Smith-Dean before being forwarded on by her, records show.
“The fact that these were all submitted at the same time and addressed to one Tina Smith-Dean, clearly demonstrates defendant’s conspiracy and hostility towards plaintiff,” McClure-Soto’s lawsuit states.
Records show McClure-Soto was issued a right to sue notice by the EEOC in early April.
County officials did not respond to a request for comment about the lawsuits Thursday.
David Smith last year informed McClure-Soto’s attorney that an outside firm brought in to investigate her workplace allegations had concluded its report and based on a legal review of it by the district attorney’s office, the allegations against Smith-Dean could not be substantiated.