Indicating that her ruling should not be interpreted as a victory for either side, Williamson County Judge Betsy Lambeth had choice words for the anti-parent faction of Round Rock Independent School District trustees during her dismissal of the lawsuit against them.
Lambeth’s comments were followed up the next morning by condemnation of the anti-parent faction from the lawyer representing an alleged victim of the district’s controversial Superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez.
Since last year, the “safe and suburban” Round Rock ISD, located just north of Austin, has been a major hotspot in the statewide and national conflict between parents and public schools.
At the eye of the storm are five of the seven elected school board trustees: Amber Feller, Tiffanie Harrison, Amy Weir, Dr. Jun Xiao, and Cory Vessa. Referred to as the “Bad Faith Five,” they targeted fellow trustees Dr. Mary Bone and Danielle Weston for censure after they objected to citizens being thrown out of a public meeting.
Bone and Weston had also been attempting to force an investigation into Azaiez, who is alleged to have assaulted and threatened his pregnant mistress after she refused his demands to abort their child.
The majority’s censure attempt was temporarily halted by Judge Lambeth in September after Bone and Weston filed a lawsuit against the “Bad Faith Five.”
On April 5, Judge Lambeth finally issued a ruling on whether Bone and Weston’s suit against the “Bad Faith Five” could continue. Although Lambeth found that the law required her to dismiss the lawsuit, she admonished the “Bad Faith Five,” saying they had failed to set an example of leadership for RRISD students.
“Please do not view this case as one where one side won and the other lost. If the Defendants [Bad Faith Five] walk out of here and proceed with a triumphant air, we’ve all lost, and in the process, 73,676 people have been silenced,” Lambeth said.
Despite her admonition, Lambeth dismissed the lawsuit, stating that state law deprived her of jurisdiction over the matter.
“The defendants argued that the case was not ripe because they had never been able to move forward with censuring the plaintiffs,” said Tony McDonald, an attorney for Weston and Bone. “They did not defend the substance of their actions. If they ignore the judge’s advice and move forward with harassing my clients, I expect we’ll be back in court with a different procedural posture.”
The next day, the “Bad Faith Five” trustees were blasted by Aziez’s former mistress, who alleges Azaiez harassed and assaulted her.
In January of this year, the trustees placed Azaiez on paid leave, pending the results of an investigation. However, he was reinstated last month. In a 5-2 decision, the board voted to reinstate Aziez despite his agreement to a permanent restraining order, with severe penalties that prohibit him from coming within 500 feet of his former mistress.
Following Lambeth’s ruling, the victim’s attorney called out the board’s majority for further victimizing his client.
“Ms. Ruiz physically suffered first at the hands of Azaiez, and now is being re-victimized by the actions of five of the members of Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees,” said Adam Muery, a lawyer for the victim. “Ms. Ruiz has been tormented as she has continuously been followed, stalked and surreptitiously photographed. She has received death threats.”
Texas Scorecard previously obtained a court document that included a text message between the woman and Azaiez, and outlined the allegations against him.
“This baby has a heartbeat. I will not kill it,” she told Azaiez.
“For the last time I am telling you please get an abortion you don’t know what you are getting yourself into,” Azaiez replied. “I will make you pay this you will not make me lose everything.”
Muery indicated to the “Bad Faith Five” that, despite the judge’s ruling and their reinstatement of their scandal-ridden superintendent, this fight wasn’t over.
“They ignored the facts presented by their own investigator, and reinstated this abuser to his job overseeing the education of children, meanwhile actively besmirching the reputation of my client, who herself is a proven leader in the education field,” he stated. “There are multiple causes of action that we are considering on behalf of Ms. Ruiz and [we] anticipate filing a lawsuit against Azaiez as early as next week.”
Citizens may read the transcript of Judge Lambeth’s ruling below.