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Ex-aide for Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin sues for records

A former office director for Gov. Mary Fallin is suing the governor, alleging Oklahoma Open Records Act violations.

Wendy Gregory, who directed the governor’s Tulsa office from January 2011 to December 2012, filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in Oklahoma County District Court.

Gregory seeks her personnel and employment records, as well as the office’s policies and procedures manual.

In an Oklahoma County wrongful termination lawsuit filed Jan. 31, Gregory claimed Denise Northrup, Fallin’s chief of staff, asked her to turn in her smartphone and keys Dec. 10, 2012, after learning of an IRS garnishment filed against her.

The petition filed Tuesday alleges that an email sent days after her firing confirmed the garnishment as basis for termination.

Federal law prohibits an employer from firing an employee whose earnings are subject to a single garnishment. Oklahoma statute says an employer cannot fire an employee for a garnishment or like proceeding “arising from a consumer credit sale, consumer lease, or consumer loan” unless it happens more than once within a year’s time.

The petition also states that governor’s spokesman Alex Weintz told reporters that Gregory was fired because she “was not performing satisfactorily,” which she disputes.

The civil suit claims that the garnishment was cleared and that she received positive performance reviews at work.

Gregory contends that her personnel file is public record according to the state’s Open Records Act.

Tulsa attorney Anthony Mareshie, who represents Gregory, said the governor’s office has “stonewalled” him.

“I’ve been sitting around for the past six or eight months with a client who has basically been slandered and defamed,” he said.

“Everyone who reads about this case will think that she was fired for cause. Where are the records? There should be something in the file that reflects why she was terminated.”

The garnishment concerned a child custody dispute from her husband’s previous marriage because Wendy and Chris Gregory filed a joint tax return with the IRS, he said.

Fallin’s office did not return calls seeking comment.