Last month, news broke that Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct.
Now, the employee who accused Watt, Simone Grimes, is speaking out publicly about her accusations, according to an article by Elizabeth Dexheimer for Bloomberg.
Grimes explained that Watt refused to give her a raise after she rejected him, and even said that the FHFA is now mishandling the review of her allegations. She explained she didn’t want to go public but was forced to by the FHFA’s investigation.
From the article:
While Grimes wasn’t named in initial press reports about the alleged harassment, her identity became public earlier this month when Wertheimer’s office sought to legally compel her to provide complete, unedited documents and tapes. Grimes had previously provided partial transcripts to investigators.
“I did not choose to come forward publicly,” Grimes said. “The FHFA office of the inspector general, under the leadership of Laura Wertheimer, disclosed my identity in a series of retaliatory moves designed to intimidate and bully me.”
An article from Politico outlines some of the conversations from the tape, including this one:
“Well, you probably want to know what I wanted to talk to you about,” Watt said. “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 of friendship. So, the exercise here is to find out which one exists here.”
At which point in the tape, the article explains, Grimes shut down the conversation.
But Watt retains that he has done nothing wrong, even telling people close to him that he intends to fight back and has no intentions of stepping down before his term expires, according to the article.
The investigation is being led by FHFA Inspector General Laura Wertheimer, who is under investigation herself after allegedly disparaging employees and attempting to intimidate witnesses.
The House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Ann Wagner, R-Mo., announced the committee plans to hold a hearing for the FHFA. The hearing will be part of its ongoing investigation into various allegations of waste, fraud and abuse by the agency, and will be held no later than September 27, 2018. The committee announced Watt and Fannie Mae CEO Tim Mayopoulos will both be invited to testify.
[Editor's Note: This article has been updated to clarify Grimes' employment status with the FHFA.]