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Monday, April 15, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Ex-SEC Investigator Can Pursue Records on Firing

(CN) - A federal judge in Washington, D.C., allowed a former SEC investigator to pursue records related to his 2005 firing, which he says stemmed from his claim that agency investigators gave "preferential treatment" to "Wall Street's elite."

Gary Aguirre claimed he was fired after he began looking into suspicious trading activity at Pequot Capital Management that pointed to Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack. Aguirre accused Mack of tipping off Pequot's founder about GE Capital's $5.3 billion acquisition of Heller Financial, from which the Pequot head benefitted $18 million.

Aguirre said the SEC turned around and told the press that he stole SEC records and broke into its email. The agency allegedly displayed a photo of Aguirre at its Washington, D.C., headquarters, which Aguirre described as a "wanted picture at a post office."

U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle tossed Aguirre's due process claim, because he was fired during the probationary period in his first year on the job.

But she stayed his claims for damage to his reputation, ruling that Aguirre could secure a "name-clearing hearing" with the SEC pending resolution of his wrongful termination claim with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Huvelle stayed Aguirre's Privacy Act claim for damages for the same reason, and said he was entitled to view any documents "to the extent that these records are 'about' plaintiff."

The SEC has allegedly ignored Aguirre's records requests since May 2008.

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