— By Domani Spero
The New York Post has been stirring up a super storm in Foggy Bottom. Following the CBS News scoop on alleged interference over DSS investigations, the NYPost let out the screaming kraken bubbling with all the allegations and names for all to see. On June 11, it has Hillary’s sorry state of affairs. This was followed on June 13 with State Department has hired agents with criminal records, memo reveals. On June 14, Another State Dept. tryst and shout. On June 15, Politician seeks answers on Weiner wife Huma Abedin’s private consulting gig.
Frankly, by Sunday, our eyeballs felt Mad Max crazy and weary. But then another one burst on our screen: Whistleblower accuses consul general of trysts with subordinates and hookers. Wait – whaaaat?
This latest allegation which concerns the U.S. Consul General in Naples is now reportedly part of an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint filed with the State Department’s Office of Civil Rights. The complainant according to the New York Post is Kerry Howard, a former Community Liaison Officer (CLO) at USCG Naples. CLO positions are typically filled by eligible family members (EFMs) accompanying their FSOs on assignments overseas. We should note that the position is currently vacant in the latest Key Officers List.
Excerpt via the NYPost:
[A] whistleblower claims she was run out of the foreign service after complaining about a consul general’s alleged office trysts with subordinates and hookers.
Kerry Howard says she was bullied, harassed and forced to resign after she exposed US Consul General Donald Moore’s alleged security-threatening shenanigans in the Naples, Italy, office.
As the post’s community-liaison officer, Howard was charged with keeping workplace peace and advising higher-ups on the state of morale, but when she revealed allegations about her boss, State Department officials swept it under the rug, according to an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint she filed with the department’s Office of Civil Rights.
The soap opera in Italy unfolded in the fall of 2010, when Moore became the Naples consul general after serving in the same capacity at the US Embassy in Port au Prince, Haiti. As a senior foreign-service officer, Moore could make as much as $179,700 a year, State Department data says.
With the affair rumors swirling, Howard’s supervisor, Pamela Caplis, instructed Howard to keep quiet, Howard claims.
“I have already informed Frankfurt,” Caplis allegedly said in what Howard claims was an attempt to head off the complaint.
Still, on a February 2011 trip to Rome, Howard told the US Embassy’s management officer, Frank Ledahawsky, that morale was “very bad” because of the alleged affair.
“We have to save his career,” Ledahawsky allegedly said.
Shortly after the meeting, Moore was allegedly called to Rome and ordered to end his relationship with the employee.
Howard thought her troubles would be over, but she became a target instead.
Read in full here.
According to his official bio, the official referred to in the EEO complaint is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor. He joined the Foreign Service in 1992 after serving as an Assistant State Attorney for the 15th Judicial Circuit in Florida.
The CLO’s supervisor is normally the management officer/counselor at post. At one point in 2011, Ms. Caplis named in the report was also the acting Consul General in Naples. Another officer mentioned in this report Frank J. Ledahowsky, is the management counselor at the US Embassy in Rome. Mr. Ledahowsky arrived in Rome in August 2008 according to the OIG report on US Mission Italy. The inspection report is dated 2010 and included an inspection conducted on USCG Naples between February 23 and March 2, 2010 prior to the tenure of Mr. Moore.
The US Mission in Italy (including the constituent posts in Florence, Milan and Naples) is under the authority of Ambassador David Thorne who has been the United States Ambassador to Italy and Ambassador to San Marino since 2009. He is also the twin brother of Julia Thorne, Secretary Kerry’s first wife. Douglas C. Hengel is Deputy Chief of Mission for the U.S. Embassy in Rome, a position he assumed in November 2010. The DCM is typically the supervisor and rating officer of the principal officers of constituent posts.
Since this is an Office of Civil Rights case, it is doubtful that we’ll ever get to read the affidavits apparently executed by seven former Italian consulate employees used in support of this complaint. Should be interesting to see how this ends. The OCR investigation into this allegation is reportedly nearing its conclusion.
Is it just us or do you get a feeling that we have crossed into a whole new world of reality? It looks like keeping a stiff upper lip as was “standard” diplomatic practice has now become as outdated as your ancient Wang machine. We can’t say if this trend becomes a tidal wave but we noticed that we now have
almost about *half a dozen State Department whistleblowers, some self-proclaimed , and it’s only June.
* (Mark Thompson (State/CT), Gregory Hicks (former DCM, US Embassy Tripoli), Eric Nordstrom (former RSO, US Embassy Tripoli), Kerry Howard (former CLO, USCG Naples), Aurelia Fedenisn (former OIG), Richard Higbie (DS, Texas).