Prairie Band of Potawatomi Indians, Kansas

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A state Civil Service Board refused to overturn the firing of a former Department of Revenue attorney who claimed he lost his job for trying to alert Gov. Bill Graves to problems within the agency. The board concluded David Prager III is not entitled to protection as a whistle-blower. It criticized Prager's conduct and said his firing was justified. Prager was fired as the department's senior corporate tax attorney in May 1997. He now serves as attorney for the tribe. His firing came about five months after he sent a memo to Graves in which he charged that top agency officials had yielded to political pressure and illegally settled tax disputes with big corporations. At the time, Graves told reporters he hadn't read Prager's memo and did not intend to do so. In his letter firing Prager, LaFaver called the allegations in the memo "mere fantasy." In its 17-page ruling, the board said Prager's " purpose in writing the governor appears self-serving, self-promoting and self-aggrandizing, a method to vent his frustrations and lash out as his known professional world collapsed around him.'' Prager also filed lawsuits in state and federal court alleging that his free speech and due process rights had been violated. The lawsuits are pending.