Ousted Tupac-Loving Iowa Official Is Suing State Government For Retaliation

Foxhoven Tupac
Foxhoven Tupac
August 1, 2019 1:15 p.m.

It seems like all the speculation over the circumstances of a Tupac-loving Iowa official’s mysterious firing can finally be put to rest.

Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) didn’t sack Jerry Foxhoven, the state’s former Department of Human Services director, because of his famous obsession with the ’90s rapper.

Rather, Foxhoven alleged Thursday, it was because he was about to blow the whistle on the governor’s office pushing him to continue paying Elizabeth Matney, a former DHS employee who had left the agency to become Reynolds’ deputy chief of staff.

Though Reynolds repeatedly told reporters that Tupac wasn’t what got Foxhoven fired, she’s been tight-lipped about the actual reason for his ouster, saying only that the department needed to go “in a different direction.”

Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Foxhoven and his lawyer, Tom Duff, held a press conference on Thursday announcing Foxhoven’s plan to file a lawsuit against the government next week for “whistleblower wrongful discharge.”

Foxhoven told reporters that he was fired shortly after he informed Reynolds’ chief of staff that he was going to the state’s attorney general to get a legal opinion on the Matney salary request, which Foxhoven believed to be illegal, and that his ouster caught him completely off guard.

“I was absolutely shocked,” Foxhoven said at the presser, adding that he “never got any indication” that his department was somehow “moving in the wrong direction.”

He repeatedly cited his 4,000 former staffers as his motivation for filing the lawsuit — to show them he “always did what I thought was right.”

Foxhoven smiled for the first time during the presser when a reporter brought up Tupac, though he had to make a few clarifications on that front.

The former official denied sending all 350 Tupac-related emails obtained by the Associated Press (“I got a ton of emails back,” he said), nor was he the one who brought the Tupac-themed “Thug life” cookies to the office on his 65th birthday (“My staff brought those cookies”).

Foxhoven said he’s gotten some unexpected responses to his love for the rapper, including Jaden Pinkett Smith inviting him for an interview and a man from the Netherlands offering to ship a portrait he had painted of him.

On the whole, the 66-year-old former official isn’t bothered by the Tupac intrigue.

“I’m forever now linked to Tupac on Google, so my kids think that’s pretty cool,” Foxhoven said with a chuckle.

He said “Changes” was his favorite Tupac song, with “California Love” being a close second.

Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t “Blow the Whistle.”

Latest News
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Audience Development Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: