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Justice Dept. report: Rumors cost U.S. attorneys’ jobs

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in Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

A report from the U.S. Department of Justice’s inspector general indicated that Margaret Chiara, former U.S. attorney in Grand Rapids, and former federal prosecutor Leslie Hagen may have been fired during the term of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales because of false rumors the women were romantically involved.

Chiara hired Hagen, a former colleague, in October 2002. Both received outstanding performance reviews. According to the report, rumors circulated about the two commuting and taking trips together and about Hagen receiving large bonuses. Once rumors of a lesbian affair reached Gonzales aide Monica Goodling, the report says, Chiara and Hagen were doomed.

As an undisclosed Republican source told National Public Radio, “To some people, that’s even worse than being a Democrat.”

The Justice Department fired Chiara in 2007, saying she was a weak and ineffectual manager. Chiara found this infuriating, the Muskegon Chronicle reported, because she “had a reputation as a very strong manager.”

After the report’s release in July, Chiara told the Los Angeles Times, “I guess now I am persuaded with deep regret that this is what was the basis. There is nothing else.”

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