Mike Neil has been a Beaumont Independent School District trustee for almost two years. He's held the position at a time of great division on the board and in the community.
So he's used to criticism.
In a recent interview, he said, "When you put yourself out in the public, and as outspoken as I am, I have to accept what comes with it."
But Neil was not as understanding when the public stances he's taken at his unpaid elected position started affecting his private job that is his bread and butter.
Neil said, " The part that angered me is the phone call my company got last week, saying that if they didn't fire me in seven days, that the person making the phone call was going after the contract, that's what angered me.
Neil is a district manager for TriCon, which owns Exxpress Marts throughout the area. Neil's supporters showed their solidarity by bringing Exxpress Mart tumblers to the last board meeting.
The phone call to TriCon was anonymous, but days later BISD electrical contractor Calvin Walker filed a criminal complaint against Neil, claiming he had voted on BISD's fuel contract with TriCon.
State law requires him to have abstained, but minutes we obtained from BISD show that Neil seconded the motion, then cast a vote against the contract.
But Neil said, "Now if you look at the minutes, the minutes are incorrect, the minutes say that I seconded it and I voted against it, but if you go and look at the video, you will see that I didn't second it. It was seconded by Terry Williams and I abstained."
We looked at the video, and Neil's right, and the minutes are incorrect, but Walker also cited minutes from the previous year, when Neil did cast a vote on the TriCon fuel contract.
Neil said, "On the first vote that I took I was not working for TriCon, so that's not an issue."
Neil is grateful the video served as backup to the meeting's minutes, and he hopes future minutes are accurate, because he says the mistake could have sent him to jail.