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Leon Walker: The Consequences of Speaking Out

My name is Leon Jermane Walker and I am a whistle-blower. For reporting the discovery of a gross waste of government funds and for reporting the endangerment of my child by her politically well-connected mother, I have faced years of ongoing persecution at the hands of Oakland County Government, my former employer. As a result, my career has been ruined, I’ve been financially destroyed, and in only a matter of days, my family and I will be evicted from our home.

On February 1, 2010, only weeks after I had submitted to Oakland County Government the findings of an investigation I had conducted after discovering what appeared to be a financial boondoggle, I was arrested and charged with a five-year felony by the Oakland County Prosecuting Attorney. I’d learned details of this scheme when, out of fear for the well-being and treatment of our daughter, I reviewed emails written by my wife. In reviewing the emails, I discovered that some correspondence outlined the existence of an ongoing wasteful purchasing scheme that was possibly being used to siphon hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from Oakland County taxpayers. In this same email, I also learned of the prolonged and ongoing endangerment of my daughter and stepson.

The arrest effectively silenced me, which I believe was my persecutors’ goal. Parties mentioned in the emails as being involved with the financial scheme included my then-wife, who was a long-time government employee; her second husband (I was her third), who is a long-time government contractor; and his attorney, whose brother was a high-ranking elected official in Oakland County. I believe, and admitted evidence has since suggested, that political influence was used to initiate my malicious prosecution. I was charged with a felony under the claim that reading my spouse’s email was a crime. The emails were in an account that I had created before the marriage. I had accessed it with the password I had used when creating the account, and this was during our marriage, in my home, on my computers, and on my network. I read those emails out of concern for the safety of my child, a concern that was validated by my findings—and in reality, the situation was much worse than I’d ever imagined.

My story was published in the local media on Christmas Eve 2010, and within days it became international news. In response to this coverage though, I received additional attacks from Oakland County, this time from multiple agencies within the government, including my employer, the Executive Branch. Their attacks eventually included a second even more baseless computer crimes charge against me, as they claimed that a request I’d submitted eight months prior under the Freedom of Information Act was somehow a computer crime. Lies were spread about me in the media, and authorities began to covertly attack me in family court, providing defamatory claims in written reports released directly to my ex-wife to aid her in custody disputes. They harassed and intimidated my co-workers and friends, making it fundamentally impossible for them to appear in court as witnesses on my behalf out of fear of being persecuted themselves. Some co-workers were even coerced into making dishonest claims about me in criminal proceedings.

It took two and a half years for me to overcome my persecutors. After surviving years of delays, threats, and attacks, I was finally exonerated when the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office dropped the charges against me the day before trial was to begin. After they had persuaded employees to reverse their earlier claims against me, Oakland County dropped the charges outright. A public trial where the facts of the case could have been presented in court was never allowed to occur.

During this process, actually soon after the Prosecutor’s media attacks against me began, I approached a prominent local civil rights attorney to represent me and my interests. At the time, she claimed to be emphatically in support of me but eventually refused to take any action or even speak publicly on my behalf until I’d won the case. When I’d finally succeeded, however, she reaffirmed her support but refused to pursue the case for months. Her claim was that filing charges at that time would harm the Democratic-incumbent Prosecutor in the upcoming election and give her Republican opponent an edge. Totally shocked by this position and statement, I began to seek other counsel. In response to my efforts, my attorney rushed a woefully inadequate complaint and filed it in Federal Court. This complaint omitted almost any reference to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office as well as its staff and the civilian parties that had aided them in their attacks. She then modified her argument to me as well, now claiming that she wouldn’t make claims against prosecutorial conduct because of immunity. This claim was thoroughly contradicted, though, by her actions in her own successful argument against prosecutorial immunity in Wendrow v. Michigan Dep’t of Human Services, a case in which she aggressively pursued the prior Oakland County Prosecutor, who happened to be from the Republican Party, which she opposes. After I allowed her to drop from my case due to this very obvious conflict making her unfit to represent my interests, I believe that her actions in communicating with other firms have effectively left me blackballed from representation on my civil action. Without counsel for an extended time, my civil case was eventually dismissed with prejudice, fundamentally stripping me of my right to hold Oakland County accountable for a large number of their actions.

With the criminal charges dismissed before trial and the civil case dismissed as a result of the actions of my attorney, I was never given an opportunity to have my name publicly cleared. No opportunity to clarify the facts to the masses, with frivolous criminal charges and slanderous “hacker” claims from the prosecutor leaving my name soiled with the toxicity of doubt, suspicion, and uncertainty. My professional reputation has been destroyed.

This ordeal has had an absolutely devastating impact on my life and the lives of my family.  My career path as a successful IT professional has been fundamentally ended. I have been financially ruined, forced into bankruptcy, and unable to find any work for more than a year after being harassed away from my job with Oakland County. I was for a time dependent on welfare, experiencing the social judgment and stigma which that entails. With utilities shut off more than once and trouble paying for my car, I was forced to sell property, work odd jobs, and appeal to charity when possible to take care of myself and my daughter. After more than a year of searching, I was finally successful at finding employment, although with a long commute and significantly less pay than what I’d known before.

Compounding these terrible experiences, my daughter has made a horrifying claim of being abused by family while in her mother’s care. The claim was reported to authorities, but all criminal investigations were halted without action, as the Oakland County Prosecutor first sat on the complaint for months before transferring it to Genesee County, who have held the complaint since without any action or notification of status. It was almost a year before I could even obtain the police report. In the meantime, my daughter is scarred and has faced tremendous scrutiny and pressure by the family of her alleged abuser for speaking out herself. She has been severely traumatized by this. With the political influence that my ex-wife has and the apparent willingness of Oakland County officials to so abuse their authority and influence to attack me, I don’t feel safe for me or my family anymore.

The financial impact on me for speaking out has been tremendous. As mentioned, my career has been ruined. Most potential employers dismiss me even before an interview, even when they acknowledge the quality of my skill set. I have been repeatedly told of the “alarm” and “concern” they have with me because of my experience with Oakland County. As mentioned, after more than a year of desperately searching, I finally found a job late last year. Unfortunately, the damage has largely been done. The expenses and losses I took in defending myself in this process were well over $100,000, far more than I could ever afford. As a result, my mortgage wasn’t paid and I was forced into bankruptcy.

This week though, things have reached depths that even I couldn’t image. I faced the very difficult task of explaining to my wonderful, amazing daughter that soon we’ll very likely be forcibly evicted from the home that we’ve managed to hold on to through all of this fight.  What she’s known as home for her entire life is being ripped away by Freddie Mac. With my mortgage company likely exhausted from my long-term financial difficulties, they lied and cheated their way through the foreclosure redemption to prevent me from saving my home, and Freddie Mac’s legal counsel has been equally callous and disingenuous. Our backs are now against the wall. We have been forced to face this traumatizing reality; we may soon lose our home.

The pain this is causing me is difficult to explain. I spoke out in the public interest for something that I thought I’d be rewarded for. I thought we as taxpayers would benefit, as my findings would be used by responsible people in government to save us all millions in waste. Instead, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars were wasted to destroy me for this. I thought that my actions would protect my daughter from abuse. Instead, she’s faced the worst type of abuse while local law enforcement is so politicized and hostile toward me that my daughter and I don’t even receive protection.

These are apparently the consequences of speaking out. My life and the lives of my family are in ruin. My career prospects have been decimated, and clearing my name seems a near impossibility. I’m even facing eviction from my home by a government agency. I haven’t just been failed by the system as a whistle-blower, I’ve been victimized by abuses of government in the worst ways possible.

What is the state of our nation when this has been allowed to happen?

About Leon Walker

Leon Walker is a survivor of false allegations--and he and his daughter are survivors of a corrupt justice system in Michigan that exists to strip basic civil liberties away from men, and fathers from their children.

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  • PlainOldTruth

    It is not possible to have a meaningful MHR movement without treating fatherhood and family as a top priority and giving it a thorough examination. The solution, on a larger scale, will not be to try to “reform” State power to alter the current disastrous situation for the family, which is caused and exacerbated by State power, but to built citizen solutions using citizen power to move away from the clutches of centralized authoritarian bureaucracy. In our culture, the government (utilizing a corrupt, unaccountable “education” monopoly operated for the most part by semi-educated drones) makes every effort to raise girls and boys to be weak of character and ignorant of civics.

    • alex brown

      Kick the state out of the family unit. It has only messed things up and created more child abuse and neglect.

  • jg

    I am truly sorry to hear about your struggles, our justice isn’t as just as we like to pretend it is. However….. did you really sign up to be the 3RD husband to a woman with a kid and think that was going to turn out ok. I know this sounds like victim blaming, but it’s not meant to be. Just like with some rape victims, for some situations you need to be more pro-active about protecting yourself by making better decisions. 3RD husband, with a kid, geeez.

    P.S. love your daughter’s fathers day drawings

    • Vương Vi-Nhuyễn – 王微軟

      Well, it doesn’t always end up bad, I’m in a serious relationship with a single mother who has a child almost my age, she seems trustworthy and not all women are like that, some are, but not all, you can’t expect that your ”lovely lady” will turn out to be a female dog. (–_–) (0.o)

    • Leon Walker

      Great point, jg. I wrote an article on that…

      • jg

        Wow,you really are a courageous guy. Not a lot of guys would have addressed that issue head on like you did. I have even more respect for you.

  • gwallan
  • Mark Fox

    I know you are broke right now, but I think you need to relocate out of Oakland or where you live right now. You have a strong skill set from the sound of things. But Oakland’s influence only extends so far. Unfortunately, you may need to scrap and save and leave the region entirely. I know it is hard, and you will probably have to fight for your daughter in the process, but it is only solution where you can rebuild.

  • Dean Esmay

    People talk about having the courage to speak out. They don’t know what courage means until they’ve actually taken on a powerful establishment. Leon you are an inspiration.

  • DannyboyCdnMra

    Mr. Walker,
    it is individuals like yourself, those who have the courage to speak the truth no matter the consequences, who will help create a brighter future for society.
    You sir have given a voice to justice where it was once muted by those whose greed destroyed their integrity.
    Thank you.

  • Paul Elam

    Mr. Walker, you are an inspiration. Thank you for the courage to speak truth to power. This is what a human rights activist looks like.

    So proud to see this on the pages of AVFM, and to know that it reflects our values and intent.,

  • alex brown

    “Her claim was that filing charges at that time would harm the Democratic-incumbent Prosecutor in the upcoming election and give her Republican opponent an edge.”

    This is why I don’t trust anyone loyal to any mainstream political party.. I find democrat supporters especially insane, when I debate them online.

    I don’t t

    • Leon Walker

      I find that lunatics and criminals exist all over government, Alex, and political affiliation and partisanship is only a means to and end for them. Myself being entirely non-partisan, all I care for is justice and equality.

  • Mike Rainbow

    I wish you the best in this fight. It sucks to hear this blatant abortion of justice, and still have people rant about how men have all the power.

  • crydiego

    Wow, I’ve written a few responses but keep deleting them because they say too much or not enough. I just hope the best for your future and I admire you.

  • notinline

    Yet more shit made possible by men’s 40 year pastime addiction.

  • crydiego

    It is hard to know what to say, I admire your strength and yet you have been beaten into the ground by the system. You are truly the Phoenix before the rise.

  • Joe Wilson

    You fought the good fight Leon. I’m just saddened that you’re going to be evicted. Yet I get the feeling that you shall overcome that too…and soon you’ll rise up again. Godspeed!

  • Glenn

    The only thing more disposable than a man in our society? A black man…Dude, you need to get that you are never going to win. The only thing to figure out now is an exit strategy. You sound like a great guy and you have your daughter. Get away somehow, can you? As for the house, forget the shame and know that how you handle these challenges is what you are demonstrating for your daughter. You could be a good Dad while living in a tent. I also get you have great skills, why not try applying to startups as a contract programmer via elance or other online marketplace? Contractors don’t get looked at too hard and often get hired into software companies that takeoff. You are already in the Bay area, you should be able to find something decent. Get away from working for govt and govt workers and you’ll find a better class of person, frankly. Scum are attracted to work in govt…

    Most of all, know that you aren’t alone!

  • Keith

    What can you even say. I had to stop reading a few times just to collect my thoughts. This is such an extraordinary abuse of power. The scarier thing to me is that he didn’t even have to suffer through a domestic violence ploy, be slandered with abuse claims, endure a painful divorce, or any of the other issues that typically ensnare men in the legal system. Other than getting married to a woman married twice before him in this insane culture, I can’t even think of a misstep this man took to learn from.

    Leon merely did what any moral person would do. He spoke out against the corrupt system and tried to protect his kids, and this is how his local government and then wife repaid him. Is this merely because he was a man? If Leon’s ex-wife were the whistleblower, would the outcome be the same? It becomes increasingly harder each day for me to believe it would.

    If there was anyway to donate I would, but I can only imagine the money it would take in such a short time to keep a mortgage. Many wonder why religion is still around? Rational or not, it is stories like this that make me want to pray. I really hope things work out and I know it is always darkest before dawn. Thank you for sharing your story Leon and best of all possible luck to you and your children.

  • Josh Williams

    He is welcome to have a a drink on me anytime. I have known about the corruption of the Oakland county court system for some time, the wives of judges own drug testing facilities which are then made mandatory for every offender, and one judge is being investigated for quietly removing cases from the books than altering the records to say the prosecution dropped, hopefully I will not be a victim of their corruption.

  • DukeLax

    “Speak truth to power”…Even if American main stream media no longer gives us a voice!!!

  • Leon Walker

    Hi everyone. I very much appreciate your words of support and encouragement. It’s been a struggle, to say the least. The story posted is really only a brief summary of what I’ve gone through, but even though my story is truly absurd and has received a great deal of attention, I know that I am not alone in being mistreated both as a whistleblower and as a father.

    Having experienced this first hand, I cannot allow this to continue on unchecked. I’ll do what I can to create awareness for the level of injustice so many of us have experienced and I’ll will not rest until all responsible for what was done to my daughter and I are held accountable for their actions.

  • MrSonicAdvance

    An inspiration or a cautionary tale? Hard to say, but I sincerely hope Leon rebuilds his life and finds happiness and peace of mind.

  • Tom Golden

    Bless you Leon Walker. You have experienced the third party abuse that our government seems to carry out with ease. Just like many males who were falsely accused of domestic violence, the original abuser turns over the keys to the government who take over the abusiveness by using the power of the system in ways it was never meant to be used and in ways meant to silence the voice of a citizen.

    Thanks for speaking out. If more had your courage our government would not be able to get away with this sort of thing.