FHFA OIG Report Criticizes Watt on Sexual Harassment Issue
February 18, 2019
The Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of the Inspector General (FHFA OIG) has issued a report stating that former Director Mel Watt misused his position to force a romantic relationship on a female colleague.
Watt, who left the Director’s position last month after serving five years in office, was accused of attempting to attempted to coerce or induce” Simone Grimes, a former special adviser at the FHFA, to “engage in a personal relationship with him by suggesting or implying he would use his authority to assist her in attaining an executive position.” The FHFA OIG also accused Watt with not being candid while interviewed about Grimes’ charges of sexual harassment, adding that he was critical of being put in the spotlight about the issue.
“Lacking any exculpatory facts, the Director criticizes the inquiry that brought his misconduct to light,” the FHFA OIG report stated. “In particular, the Director alleges that: the report represents a ‘rush to judgment’ so we could vindicate our independence and integrity; we improperly investigated a matter under Title VII and compromised FHFA's EEO process; our administrative inquiry was flawed; and we misled a federal court in our subpoena application. For the reasons set forth in this report, we flatly reject each of the process issues raised by the FHFA Director.”
Watt did not publicly comment on the report’s release.
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