Fired Thornburg exec alleges ‘sexual favoritism’ in lawsuit

SANTA FE – A former managing director at Thornburg Investment Management has sued the firm and several of its executives, including founder Garrett Thornburg, claiming that he was fired in retaliation for reporting a case of sexual favoritism.

In the lawsuit, filed in state court in Santa Fe, Troy Statczar alleges he was dismissed in June after questioning whether Erin Carney, Thornburg head of strategic development, was having a sexual relationship with her then-boss, Thornburg CEO Jason Brady.

Brady is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, as are Thornburg HR Director Dana Jones and the firm’s CFO, Nimish Bhatt. Carney is not named as a defendant.

Thornburg spokesperson Michael Corrao responded to a request for comment with the following statement: “Thornburg has explicit policies against workplace misconduct, including sexual harassment, and we take allegations seriously. When an allegation of inappropriate behavior was made against the now-former employee, it was investigated and appropriate action was taken. Therefore, we disagree with his claims and specifically deny any claims of disparate treatment and retaliation.”

Founded in 1982 by Garrett Thornburg, the Santa Fe-based investment firm had more than $40 billion in client assets under management as of Dec. 31, according to the lawsuit.

Statczar joined Thornburg in 2017 as director of fund administration after spending nine years as director of U.S. fund administration/operations for Henderson Global Investors in Chicago.

According to the lawsuit, in the first half of 2019, Statczar questioned decisions about the rollout of various investment products by Carney, who was hired in June 2018 and promoted within six months to managing director. Before being fired, Statczar asked co-workers whether Carney’s rapid advancement was due to her sexual relationship with Brady and questioned her decisions directly to Brady.

In his complaint, Statczar notes that he received a positive employee evaluation from Thornburg not long before being fired.

The investment executive alleges that part of the reason for his dismissal was that he relayed a derogatory comment made by CFO Bhatt about Statczar’s hygiene to at least two other Thornburg executives.

Statczar maintains that Bhatt accused him of breaking “the sacred cardinal rule” by telling others about the comment.

The lawsuit claims Bhatt said to Statczar, “You know Troy, you’re like a broken window. When I look up, I see cracks. And you know broken windows cannot be repaired — only replaced.”

Statczar’s lawsuit, filed by attorney Trent A. Howell, claims that Thornburg executives and the firm have violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act through discrimination, retaliation and wrongful discharge. He is seeking compensatory damages, including back pay, as well as punitive damages and reimbursement of legal costs.

In August, Brady’s wife filed for divorce and Brady went before the Thornburg board to admit he was having an affair with his direct subordinate, Carney, who was also married, the complaint states.

The lawsuit points out that many executives in high-profile companies have been asked to resign under similar circumstances, but that neither Brady nor Carney were disciplined by the firm. Instead, Carney was assigned to report to Garrett Thornburg instead of Brady, according to the suit.

The complaint further states that despite generally accepted human resources standards, the Thornburg company has “no written policy prohibiting supervisors — even its CEO — from having a sexual relationship with and showing sexual favoritism to a direct subordinate.” Nor did it tell employees that it had any unwritten practice on such relationships, the suit says.

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