NTXIF 2024

Plaintiffs, Collin County reach $1.75 million settlement in lawsuit

by | Apr 18, 2023 | Latest

After reaching a settlement in mediation in February, the terms of a settlement agreement have been reached in a lawsuit filed between six current and former employees and Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis, First Assistant District Attorney Bill Wirskye and the county judge and county commissioners.

The terms of the $1.75 million settlement were made public after the Collin County Commissioners Court approved an item during their Monday, April 17, meeting acknowledging their intent to sign it. County spokesperson Tim Wyatt said the sum would be paid from the county’s insurance fund.

Filed in October 2022, the lawsuit filed by the county’s top and deputy investigators alleged Willis making repeated untoward and unwanted comments, inappropriately touching employees and propositioning certain individuals. It also accused Wirskye of targeting female employees and fostering a toxic workplace.

“These individuals care very deeply for each other’s well-being,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Jeffrey Simon in an April 17 news release. “That support gave them the courage to stand up for themselves, their rights, and those of their colleagues.”

In addition to Willis and Wirskye, the suit named County Judge Chris Hill and county commissioners Duncan Webb, Susan Fletcher, Darrell Hale and Cheryl Williams and accused them of knowing of and covering up the misconduct.

The $1.75 million settlement will be split equally between each of the six plaintiffs in the case, Simon said in the release. 

Rogge Dunn, Willis’ attorney in the case, said terms of the settlement also mean the employees working for the county at the time of the suit will resign. They will also drop their sexual harassment complaints that had been filed around the time of the federal filing in October.

“The settlement allows DA Willis and his office to now focus 100% of their energy on doing the job they love on behalf of Collin County’s citizens,” Dunn said.

Throughout the timeline of the suit, Willis denied any wrongdoing, labeling the claims made as “false, defamatory and outrageous.” 

“From the moment I released just a portion of the compelling evidence of my innocence at my press conference, it was inevitable that these claims would have to be dismissed, either by the plaintiffs or by the judge,” Willis said.” This case only settled because an insurance company decided it was cheaper to settle now than pay lawyers to defend the case.”

He was also re-elected in November after running unopposed. Willis first took charge as the district attorney in 2011 and holds the power to appoint certain officials under him, such as Wirskye.

His wife, Jill, is an elected judge in Collin County who also won re-election in November after running unopposed.

Wirskye has also denied the claims and labeled the lawsuit as “politically timed and motivated.” He did not respond to a request for comment.

According to the lawsuit, the county commissioners had the ability to take action against Willis and Wirskye, but “chose to look the other way.”

Photos online

0 Comments

Public Notice - Subscribe

Related News

Young anglers reel in success

Young anglers reel in success

One fish, two fish, we fish, you fish. That was the case at Murphy’s Tenth Annual Rainbow Trout Roundup. About 100 young anglers vied for three hours to hook some of the 2,000 rainbow trout stocked in the Murphy City Hall Pond by the Texas Department of Parks and...

read more
New restrictions on short-term rentals

New restrictions on short-term rentals

Murphy’s new police chief said he’s proud to serve such an amazing city. City Manager Aretha Adams introduced Chief Jeff Gibson, Mayor Scott Bradley welcomed him, City Secretary Kandi Jackson swore him in and Gibson’s wife, Melissa, pinned his badge on him. For more...

read more
Mental health court a lifeline

Mental health court a lifeline

A graduate of Collin County’s new Adult Mental Health Court said the program allowed them to “break free from the cycle of despair and embrace a fresh start in life.” The court recently graduated its first participants, offenders with mental health issues diverted...

read more
CTE programs highlighted this month

CTE programs highlighted this month

February is CTE Month, a national public awareness campaign that highlights the value and achievements of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. “It’s an opportunity to showcase our programs and to continue to educate the community about the things we are...

read more
New city manager talks family, future

New city manager talks family, future

Murphy’s new city manager values her family time and will consider shortening the work week for municipal employees. Aretha Adams and husband Damien have five children, four girls and a boy, ranging in age from 25 to 2. For more on this story see the February 22, 2024...

read more
Law increases penalties for human traffickers

Law increases penalties for human traffickers

A new state law has significantly increased punishment for human traffickers. Senate Bill 4 was approved by the state Legislature during the third special session in October 2023 and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in December. The new law, which went into effect Feb. 6,...

read more
Fun with parks and recreation

Fun with parks and recreation

From fish to eggs, Murphy Parks and Recreation has something to make kids smile. The tenth annual Rainbow Trout Roundup takes place Saturday, Feb. 24, at the City Hall pond. Young anglers must pre-register on the murphytx.org website. For more on this story see the...

read more
Education foundation gears up for gala

Education foundation gears up for gala

Boots ’N Barbecue, the largest fundraiser for the Wylie ISD Education Foundation, may be sold out, but there are still opportunities to get involved. The event, set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23, will happen at a new venue — the Plano Event Center— this year. Last...

read more
New short-term rental restrictions

New short-term rental restrictions

The Murphy City Council has adopted new restrictions on short-term home rentals. The rules apply to both whole-house rentals for less than 30 days as well as room rentals. The city will also levy a hotel occupancy tax on the rentals.In other business, council voted to...

read more
Last call for Tunes, Tails & Ales

Last call for Tunes, Tails & Ales

Parks & Recreation is shopping for a new spring festival after the Murphy City Council agreed to cancel this year’s Tunes, Tails & Ales craft beer and crawfish event because of a nearly two-thirds increase in price. Kayla McFarland, manager of recreation...

read more
Public Notice - Subscribe