The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association has agreed to pay nearly $8 million to settle an unpaid claims lawsuit filed by a southern school district, according to state district court records in Cameron County.
The Brownsville Independent School District filed the suit for claims they say weren’t paid following Hurricane Dolly in 2008, the Austin American-Statesman reported. The district sued TWIA for $26 million in contractual damages after receiving nothing for the destruction caused by Dolly.
The district’s lawyer, Steve Mostyn, said he found racist and hateful emails exchanged in 2008 and 2009 between high-ranking TWIA officials in documents he obtained last year from the association through the discovery process in the case. He argued that race was a factor in the denial of the district’s claims.
“It’s unfortunate that it took them this long to admit it,” Mostyn said, adding that the district will now be able to repair leaky roofs. “The settlement is significant.”
The insurer previously denied allegations that a culture of racism existed within the organization.
A TWIA spokeswoman said she couldn’t comment on the case. Another spokeswoman previously said before that race was never a factor in settling the claims.
A spokesman for the Texas Department of Insurance, which has oversight over the association, said department leaders haven’t seen the court filing and wouldn’t comment.
The emails sent between association officials referenced crude jokes or anti-immigrant “petitions,” Mostyn said. Several included offensive comments about minorities, including blacks and Hispanics, and were sent to association officials from people outside of the agency.
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