太子探花

$700K investigation into former Bowser aide ‘worth every penny,’ says DC council member

An expensive third-party investigation into sexual harassment allegations against D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser鈥檚 former chief of staff John Falcicchio “was worth every penny,” according to D.C. Council member Brianne Nadeau, one of the lawmakers who pushed for the investigation.

“This report lays out recommendations from an independent investigator on how the mayor’s investigation into Falcicchio’s actions could have been handled differently and better,” Nadeau said.

It also makes recommendations as to what the D.C. government can do to prevent sexual harassment in the future, according to Nadeau.

In a statement Friday, Nadeau said the investigation had been completed and that she was determining which parts of it could potentially be released to the public.

But the report was leaked by a member of the media Monday evening before that review was completed.

“I鈥檓 greatly disappointed that someone chose to leak the report to the media before redactions could be made to protect the victims. This is exactly the kind of thing that makes victims hesitate to come forward. Our Number One priority in this has been to protect the identities of the complainants and prevent them from being traumatized yet again,” she wrote in a statement.

The review process is ongoing, Nadeau confirmed Monday, but added that following the leak, she would be petitioning the Council to make an “expeditious 鈥 but careful 鈥 review and redaction so that we can release the report publicly.”

“I’m working right now with our general counsel to determine which things in the report need to be redacted for the privacy of the complainants,” Nadeau said. “Once we’ve gotten through that process, we should be able to release that to the public.”

The D.C. Office of the Inspector General hired a law firm to carry out the investigation, which cost taxpayers nearly $750,000.

“I believe this was worth every penny so that we can ensure the public understands what process really occurred and what we need to do better with their tax dollars in protecting the employees of the District of Columbia,” Nadeau said.

The lawyers representing the two accusers also voiced their “profound” disappointment and anger regarding the report’s leak.

鈥淎lthough our clients have yet to see a copy of the report, it appears that portions of it have been leaked to members of the media. Our understanding is that this $749,600 report outlined an abusive pattern of behavior from a powerful man, but somehow was unable to substantiate retaliation for refusing his advances. It鈥檚 unacceptable that our clients have had to endure investigations for more than a year only to have a report leaked without any warning,” attorneys Debra Katz and Kayla Morin wrote in a statement.

Prior to this, the only investigation that had taken place was done by the Mayor鈥檚 Office of Legal Counsel.

Nadeau and others had called for a third party to look into the allegations, claiming that having the mayor’s own attorneys investigate the matter could be considered a conflict of interest.

Bowser said Monday she had seen the report, but was told by the inspector general’s office not to comment publicly.

“The inspector general asked for confidentiality so I’m respectful of that,” Bowser said. “I think the IG and the council should decide how we’re going to proceed.”

Two city employees had accused Falcicchio of sexual misconduct.

Last week, the Mayor鈥檚 Office of Legal Counsel confirmed it had reached a settlement with the two women, but that it could not disclose terms due to 鈥渃onfidentiality provisions.鈥

Attorneys representing the women released a statement saying they also could not discuss details involving the settlement.

According to , the settlement with one of the women involved a cash payment ranging from $300,000 to $500,000. that “unwanted sexual advances” toward a third staffer, according to a copy of the confidential report.

In addition to being the mayor鈥檚 chief of staff, Falcicchio had also been serving as the city鈥檚 deputy mayor for planning and economic development.

Falcicchio resigned from his roles with the city last year when the allegations first came to light.

WTOP’s Ciara Wells contributed to this report.

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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