The senior staff for Democrat State Rep. Jolanda Jones of Houston announced their resignation over her ‘toxic and unethical’ behavior Thursday.
Jones, a freshman in the Texas House and former contestant on the reality show Survivor, reportedly “actively covered up [her] son Jio’s inappropriate relationship with one of [her] interns, who is significantly younger than him and is in a power imbalance, and [is] now using [her] position to intimidate and silence [her] own staff members.”
According to Jones’ senior staff, she “continued to endorse, encourage, and create an abusive and hostile work environment in the workplace without accountability for [her] or [her] relatives’ actions.”
Jones’ chief of staff, legislative director, and district director told her to “own your S.H.I.T.,” in reference to Jones’ book titled “Owning My S.H.I.T.: Suffering Hardship Internalizing Trauma.”
The staff’s resignation letter, which can be read in full below, focused mainly on an alleged inappropriate relationship between Jones’ son, Jiovanni Jones, and an intern in the office:
Jio is not only your son, but General Counsel at Elite Change Inc. (registered lobbying firm and also the financial vehicle of your campaign manager, Dallas Jones). This inappropriate relationship may constitute as sexual harassment or a conflict of interest between his office of employment and your state office.
“It is concerning that you have not taken any steps to address his behavior, and instead have chosen to put everyone in the office at risk,” said the senior staff. “Your son is an absolute liability, and his behavior is now affecting the livelihoods and credibility of everyone on your payroll. It is so disappointing to see that while you build your profile on overcoming abuse, you cannot stand up to the abuser that you raised. You are holding a legal case hostage over your son’s girlfriend because you allow him to gaslight and emotionally and physically abuse all the women in his life – work and personal – while dragging your entire office through it.”
The senior staff says Jones has also involved them in her personal life, including the coordination of her son’s father-in-law’s cancer treatment and addressing her son’s legal issues and criminal charges, as well as contributing to a toxic work environment by calling staff at all hours of the night on personal business, disparaging staff’s family, threatening to fire staff “for compliance in ethically questionable situations,” and physically threatening staff members.
Public servants are meant to prioritize the public good before oneself, but you have continued to use this office as a bully pulpit to acquire more power and to protect your own self-interests.
According to the staff letter, Jones has been approached many times for remedies to inappropriate situations and her personal behavior, but nothing has been done.
They informed Jones that they have involved the Texas Legislative Internship Program Director in the case of the relationship between Jones’ son and her intern.
Jones confirmed the resignations to FOX 26, but she made no mention of the letter, stating, “Working in the Texas Legislature is a stressful and demanding job, especially when you are in a daily fight to protect your constituents from attacks on their families, their civil rights, their schools, and their ability to control their own bodies. Some of my staff have decided this job is not for them. I wish them good luck and success in their next endeavors.”