FHFA Inspector General Report Finds Mel Watt Sexually Harassed An Employee
The report states:
We found that the FHFA director violated Section 702 when he attempted to coerce or induce the PMO Manager to engage in a personal relationship with him by suggesting or implying he would use his official authority to assist her in attaining an executive position with FHFA.
The FHFA Inspector General sent the report to the White House in November. However, President Donald Trump took no action against Watt.
Simone Grimes began to speak out publicly about the 2017 incident with Watt after news leaked about the investigation.
Grimes released tapes where Watt made comments such as:
Well, you probably want to know what I wanted to talk to you about. I mentioned to you there is an attraction here that I think needs to be explored. In my experience, there are four types of attraction: emotional, spiritual, sexual or friendship. So, the exercise here is to find out which one exists here.
The FHFA Inspector General states there were several tapes released of conversations between the two. From the FHFA Inspector General report:
In a recording of a portion of their conversation in the FHFA director’s apartment, the director can be heard to intermingle comments about his attraction to the PMO Manager and his admiration of her physical appearance with a discussion of possible paths by which she could advance into FHFA’ s executive ranks.
Grimes Stops Cooperating With The FHFA Inspector General Investigation
The office of the FHFA Inspector General explained that Grimes stopped responding to its requests. She also never released the remainder of the tapes the office believes she has. Despite that, the report declared that Watt is guilty of misconduct, saying:
We find that there are no circumstances under which it would be appropriate for the head of FHFA to induce a subordinate employee to meet with him alone, in his apartment, for a conversation in which he professes his attraction for that employee and holds out opportunities for the employee to serve in specific executive positions over which he exercises total control.
We find that the Director lacked candor when he omitted information that was material to our inquiry. Specifically, he omitted: (1) any mention of his personal friendship with, and mentorship of, the PMO Manager; and (2) that he had a “plan,” dating back to at least June 2016, under which the PMO Manager could advance into FHFA’s executive ranks.
Yet, Watt claims the FHFA Inspector General doesn’t have the full story. He says the missing tapes show Grimes actually began many of the conversations.
The report states:
He claims that this report is incomplete because we lack the balance of the recordings made by the PMO Manager of her conversations with the director. The director states that the missing recordings would show that the PMO Manager initiated most of the conversations.