The new allegations offer up the most detailed theory to date about why Paxton helped Austin real estate developer Nate Paul even as his top aides balked at his behavior.
Four former high ranking agency officials are accusing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of swapping political favors for a donor’s help with a home remodel and a job for his alleged “mistress.”
The new, more detailed allegations, first reported by The Texas Tribune, were laid out in an updated court filing in a whistleblower lawsuit the former employees filed against Paxton in November. The lawsuit accuses Paxton of repeatedly abusing his position as the state’s top lawyer to help Nate Paul, an Austin real estate developer and campaign donor.
The four ex-officials said they received information “suggesting” Paul “either personally or through a construction company he owns and controls” was involved in a recent remodel of Paxton’s home in Austin, according to a copy of the filing The Dallas Morning News obtained Thursday afternoon.
They also claimed Paxton helped secure employment at one of Paul’s companies for a woman with whom Paxton allegedly had an affair. Paxton then helped Paul, they alleged, in return for his silence or to repay him for his assistance.
“That real estate investor was also a major donor to Paxton’s campaign, was assisting Paxton in the remodel of his personal residence, and was the employer of Paxton’s mistress. Plaintiffs reasonably believed Paxton’s bizarre abuse of his office was the result of bribery,” the filing stated, calling Paxton’s actions an “obsessive use of the power of his office.”
Paxton’s spokesman denied he did anything illegal.
“Any accusations that the Attorney General acted contrary to the law are completely false and they will be proven false in court,” Ian Prior said in a statement.
Paul’s attorney did not immediately return a request for comment.
The new allegations, much of which The News could not independently verify, offer up the most detailed theory to date about why Paxton helped Paul even as his top aides balked at his behavior.
The News reported last year that Paxton personally intervened at least four times on a range of legal matters at his agency that involved or helped Paul since March 2020. Several senior officials objected to Paxton’s actions last fall, reporting him to law enforcement for alleged abuse of office and bribery.
The FBI is now investigating these claims, according to The Associated Press.
After reporting Paxton’s alleged crimes, he fired the employees, who he said were disloyal and who he accused of thwarting an active agency investigation.
The employees then filed their lawsuit, claiming retaliation.
If they win their case, the state could be on the hook to pay hundreds of thousands — or even millions — in lost pay and benefits, attorneys fees and damages.
Paxton also faces unrelated charges of securities fraud dating back to his time as a state legislator, when a fellow Republican lawmaker alleged Paxton duped him and others to invest in a McKinney technology company without disclosing he was being compensated by the firm’s CEO. A Collin County grand jury indicted Paxton on those charges in 2015, months after he was elected attorney general, but he has yet to face trial.
Paxton faced three felony charges stemming from those allegations. He has pleaded not guilty.