Richard Hornsby, the chief operating officer of the Federal Housing Finance Housing Authority (FHFA), was arrested last week. According to court filings, he has been charged with a single felony of threatening to kidnap or injure a person. In a hearing on April 30th, Hornsby was also ordered to stay away from FHFA offices and from his former boss, FHFA director Edward DeMarco, who retired at the end of April.
Court records and a police report allege that Hornsby threatened to shoot Mr. DeMarco and himself on at least one occasion after making increasingly threatening comments about DeMarco for some period of time.
The threats apparently escalated on April 28, after a conversation with another employee at the agency’s headquarters. The employee reported the conversation to authorities and Mr. DeMarco was “escorted to a secure location following a report of a threat.”
Neither Mr. Hornsby or Mr. DeMarco were willing to comment to the media. An FHFA spokeswoman also said the agency had a policy to not comment on personnel matters. A second hearing relating to the case is scheduled for May 14.
Dispute over job performance ratings
The dispute between Hornsby and DeMarco apparently stemmed from a disagreement regarding DeMarco’s assessment of Hornsby’s job performance. The dispute apparently festered, as the court filings show that Hornsby allegedly threatened DeMarco on several occasions during the preceding few weeks.
FHFA employees received an email last Wednesday notifying them that Hornsby had been placed on leave. Hornsby began working at the FHFA in November 2011, following more than 25 years in various management roles at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Eric Stein to become new FHFA COO
FHFA director Mel Watt, a former North Carolina congressman, sent agency employees a memo last week stating that Hornsby’s COO duties would be taken over on an interim basis by Eric Stein, a Treasury Department official who joined the FHFA earlier this year.