Ugoletti, Schwind & Bowler Out: Who’s Next?

Mario Ugoletti, 53, retired from the Federal Housing Finance Agency effective September 30. Ugoletti was Interim Ombudsman and special advisor to FHFA Director Watt. He had worked for FHFA for 6 years and for the Treasury Department for an additional 14 years.

His departure represents at least the third high-ranking government official connected to Fanniegate to leave their job in the last four months. Gregg Schwind, 48, Senior Trial Counsel at the Justice Department left his position in July. Timothy Bowler, 41, Deputy Assistant Secretary and special advisor to Treasury Secretary Lew, left his position in June.

Are these departures related or unrelated? Further, which departure was a termination versus resignation? It is difficult to know for sure due to the confidential nature of employee separation. What is known is that each of these government officials were intimately involved with Fanniegate, i.e. the controversial handling of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conservatorships.

Ugoletti had been Watt’s right hand man in dealing with the conservatorships. Prior to that he was working at Treasury when the government seized Fannie and Freddie in 2008. Most recently, Ugoletti has attracted attention for seemingly providing conflicting sworn statements regarding what the government knew about Fannie and Freddie’s financial condition as it pertained to the Net Worth Sweep (3rd Addendum to the Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements).

These conflicting statements, along with statements from other witnesses, could expose Ugoletti to perjury charges. So, the timing of his departure from his government job shortly after being suspected of wrongdoing may not be coincidental.

My earlier blog post on Ugoletti can be found here

Equally curious regarding the timing of his departure, Gregg Schwind was lead government attorney handling the various Fanniegate shareholder lawsuits. His abrupt departure in July seemed to be an unusual time to leave given the high profile cases he was leading. If he resigned, it clearly was ill timed; if he was terminated it may have been related to his performance and/or philosophical differences in the Fanniegate lawsuits. Schwind served at the Justice Department for 13 years and at the Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps for 8 years.

Timothy Bowler had a short, four-year stint with the government. He joined the Treasury Department in 2011 after working at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase. When Bowler left he had not announced where he was going next. However, given the revolving door practice between Treasury and Big Banks, it is likely Bowler returned to work at a large, Wall Street financial institution.

Bowler was working at Treasury when the Net Worth Sweep Agreement was established. Evidence suggests that Bowler was involved with formulating the Sweep Agreement. Details of this evidence can be found here in an earlier blog post

Perhaps it is coincidental that several high-ranking government officials related to Fanniegate have recently departed. If these officials all resigned on their own, perhaps the pressure of dealing with Fanniegate was too overwhelming for them. However, if the government is asking these officials to leave it could be an indication of internal turmoil relating to these lawsuits.

It will be interesting to see if Fanniegate encourages additional government officials to “retire.”