State investigation finds that PVA Lindauer ‘likely’ sexually harassed employee

Jefferson County PVA Tony Lindauer | Photo via PVA website

A state investigation has found that longtime Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator Tony Lindauer “likely subjected at least one employee to sexual harassment in the workplace,” with witnesses substantiating that he made “unwelcome and inappropriate” sexual comments and advances.

The investigation by the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Contract Compliance — which covers discrimination, sexual harassment and violations of equal opportunity programs — was initiated after an anonymous complaint from an employee in Lindauer’s office in January.

According to a copy of the EEO report dated Oct. 17 but released to several media outlets on Friday, this original complaint asserted that there was “a culture of fear and intimidation” in the office “owing to harassment and sexual behavior” by Lindauer “and persons employed by him.”

The report, signed by EEO executive director Yvette Smith, found substantiation that Lindauer subjected one female employee to “unwelcome and inappropriate sexual comments and conduct,” and found the complaint that he subjected the same employee to “unwelcome and inappropriate touching and verbal comments” this May to be “credible.”

The report also found substantiation that Lindauer repeatedly subjected this employee to unwelcome sexual advances by communicating to her “that she could or should perform a sex act in his office,” which the report also found to be credible.

“By his own admission to investigators, on at least two occasions, Mr. Lindauer discussed ‘blow jobs’ with” the complainant “while in his office,” stated the report. “Mr. Lindauer admitted to (two employees and witnesses) that he ‘probably’ or ‘did’ request” the complainant “to perform the sex act.”

The EEO report also found substantiation that employees in the PVA office “are distrustful of management and fear losing their jobs if they report unlawful or unwelcome behavior.”

While a large majority of the 55 PVA employees who completed a workplace environment survey from the EEO reported that they had not witnessed or been subjected to sexual harassment, the report adds that “the nonclassified (at-will) status of PVA employees likely deters them from reporting unlawful or unwanted behavior.”

The report concluded by saying that the Department of Revenue must refer it and the initial complaint to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

Last week, Lindauer informed all employees in an email that they would be terminated on Nov. 30, which was the last day of his term, and that they would have to reapply for their jobs to chief of staff Colleen Younger, who was elected earlier this month to replace Lindauer. Employees of PVA offices around the state serve at the pleasure of the administrator and can be fired without cause.

One employee of the PVA informed Insider this week that they had not been rehired by Younger, along with two other employees.

Several current and former employees referred to in the report also told investigators that Lindauer has inappropriately touched them and made inappropriate comments, but the report could not substantiate them because there were not other witnessed to the alleged incidents.

In October, the PVA office’s longtime chief financial officer Harold Thomas also filed a complaint with the state against Younger, asserting that she improperly accessed a nonpublic data service in the office to conduct research against John May, her Republican opponent in this year’s PVA race.

Asked last week if employees that made complaints against her and Lindauer could be guaranteed that they would get their jobs back, Younger would only say that every employee would be re-evaluated.

Younger and Lindauer did not immediately return a request for comment on the EEO report.

This story has been updated.