Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Mel Watt is refusing to cooperate with an independent investigation into charges that he sexually harassed a female employee of the agency.
According to a Bloomberg report, Watt claimed in an e-mail to Dan Pierce, the investigator retained by the U.S. Postal Service, that he was not required to cooperate with Pierce’s office because he was a presidential appointee and the process was designed only to investigate claims against rank-and-file employees. Watt added that he was “fully” cooperating with a separate probe by the FHFA inspector general’s office, noting that he had “serious concerns” that Pierce’s investigation could be made without jeopardizing his legal rights and without “substantial duplication of expense and effort.”
Watt, who was appointed by President Obama, is scheduled to leave office in January. Last month, Simone Grimes, a special adviser to the FHFA and the woman who accused Watt of sexual harassment, 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. Grimes also filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint within the agency earlier this year, which is the basis of the investigation by the FHFA’s inspector general.