A former account manager has filed a lawsuit against a Santa Fe investment firm accusing retaliation, saying he was fired after reporting sexual favoritism by the CEO for a lower-level employee.
The defendants include the company Thornburg Investment Management, President and CEO Jason Brady, Chief Financial Officer Nimish Bhatt, Dana Jones in human resources and Chairman Garrett Thornburg.
Additional allegations include violating the New Mexico Human Rights Act, fraud in the inducement of contract, bad faith and civil conspiracy.
Troy Statczar, a former fund administrator, accused Brady of promoting subordinate Erin Carney because of an affair between the two and that he was fired after bringing his concerns to human resources.
According to the suit, Carney described how Brady had flown her to Santa Fe and said he would create any position for her. The lawsuit said the company had no written policy prohibiting supervisors from having a sexual relationship and showing favoritism to direct subordinates. The suit, filed Tuesday, said Brady later disclosed he had an affair with Carney to human resources “behind closed doors” and faced no reprimand.
Statczar said he oversaw $40 billion in funds and often talked across offices in the firm. In the suit, Statczar said he was concerned that Carney “did not seem to know what she was doing, from a technical or strategic perspective,” and started asking questions about how she received her position. Statczar said he brought it up to members of the management team, including Brady, at a May 13 lunch meeting.
The lawsuit mentions that Statczar received positive employee evaluations, which changed after his meeting with management.
Bhatt wrote in a “Memo of Concern,” dated June 7, that Statczar had crossed inappropriate boundaries with his subordinate, Ponn Lithiluxa, and listed asking her what she does on weekends, asking colleagues if she was in the office and “continuously asking [Lithiluxa] to go to lunch even after she declines due to a busy schedule.” The memo directed Lithiluxa to report to Bhatt, and Statczar was barred from speaking to her about the issue.
Statczar replied in a letter that “for 20 years [Lithiluxa] and I have always had a great personal and professional relationship. [She] has never expressed anything otherwise to me.” He said the concerns were out of context and some of them had been explained previously.
The lawsuit said Brady fired Statczar on June 24, saying Statczar’s response to Bhatt demonstrated he was unfit to “effectively lead.”
Statczar is suing for front pay, back pay, unspecified and punitive damages.