A woman who accused Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt of sexual harassment has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the agency for allegedly denying her a raise after rejecting Watt’s advances. The lawsuit also charged that she was paid less than the man who previously held her job.
According to a Politico report
, Simone Grimes, a special adviser at the FHFA, filed her lawsuit on Monday in U.S. District Court. In her lawsuit, Grimes said that her response to Watt’s sexual advances "was directly related" to the refusal by the FHFA to adjust her salary. Grimes taped her conversations with Watt, including a 2016 meeting when Watt commented on a tattoo on her ankle and asked, “If I kissed that one would it lead to more?”
Grimes also filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint within the agency earlier this year, and the issue is being investigated by the FHFA’s inspector general. Watt, whose five-year term concludes in 2019, did not comment publicly on the lawsuit, but last month he responded to media reports of alleged sexual harassment by insisting that “selective leaks related to this matter are obviously intended to embarrass or to lead to an unfounded or political conclusion. However, I am confident that the investigation currently in progress will confirm that I have not done anything contrary to law.”