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Lewisville Fire inspector says she was terminated after reporting what she believed was human trafficking

A Lewisville Fire inspector says she was fired after raising concerns about massage businesses she was inspecting.

LEWISVILLE, Texas — There are more than 30 massage businesses in Lewisville. Fire inspectors routinely go in to make sure they are up to code.

“Fire, life and safety is my goal as a fire inspector, and if I walk into something that is not in my lane I have to report it to the property authorities,” said Meredith Motes, former inspector.

Motes, a now former Lewisville Fire Inspector, said she thought she was doing the right thing when she told supervisors and police what she saw while inspecting some of the businesses.

"I went ahead and opened the door up and laying on table was a naked man with a lady on top of him and she was naked as well," said Motes.

Motes said in March 2020 she took pictures inside one of the businesses and sent an email to her bosses which her lawyer provided to us. She detailed what she saw rooms with beds that looked like women were living there.

“All their belongings in that one room, crammed in there, medicine you name it. Everything they owned was in that strip center massage parlor,” said Motes.

WFAA went to the same business to see if they would comment. But we weren’t allowed in the back to see for ourselves.

However, at a second location where Motes said she also saw makeshift living spaces and witnessed what appeared to be sexual activity, WFAA was allowed inside.

An employee took us on a tour and said that the business had recently changed management and the cots were removed but did tell us women are sometimes allowed to sleep there.

”They not just living here but they have a house maybe three hours away and maybe just go home a week and stay here a week and then go home," said the employee. 

Motes said she had taken training classes on how to spot human trafficking.

She said for two years she continued to report what she saw but was told nothing was going to be done by police. Instead, they wanted her to write tickets.

”They want fire inspections to go in and write tickets to the girls living in there and if possible get to the business owner and write a ticket for living in an unlivable space,” said Motes.

Motes said she talked to a friend about her frustrations that some of the massage businesses continued to operate.

She said her friend contacted the Denton County Sheriff’s Office, who then contacted her to say their human trafficking task force would look into it.

Motes said when Lewisville police found out about that, she said her supervisors started an internal affairs investigation.

Eventually, she was fired for insubordination, not being truthful and telling her co-workers she was under investigation.

"She didn’t discuss the case at all but they have thrown that in because they are trying to find some bases to terminate her,” said Bob Gorsky, an attorney.

Gorsky has represented police and firefighters for decades and calls her termination ridiculous.

"We are going to find out why they shut this issue down and why they shut her down,” said Gorsky.

The City of Lewisville sent us a statement saying they don’t discuss personnel matters, “The Lewisville Police Department takes allegations of human trafficking very seriously and all such allegations are investigated.”

They said human trafficking cases are complex and lengthy to investigate and said they recently raided one place and arrested someone.

Motes said that’s not enough. For her, there is a bigger problem, and said she won’t stay silent. Motes plans to appeal her firing.

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