Magazine article American Banker

OTS Halts Imaginary Sports Leagues and Calls Foul against Some Players

Magazine article American Banker

OTS Halts Imaginary Sports Leagues and Calls Foul against Some Players

Article excerpt

Now that there are no more Charlie Keatings to pursue, regulatory watchdogs at the Office of Thrift Supervision are turning inward.

After a rigorous six-month investigation, they've broken up an office pool on imaginary baseball and football games and punished six players.

The OTS employees were running fantasy football and rotisserie baseball leagues off-premises and after hours. Occasionally, during work, they'd send each other E-mail messages about the previous day's results. OTS said that constituted gambling and a misuse of government property.

Last week, David A. Sjogren, a manager in corporate securities, and Peter A. Hull, a paralegal in information services, were suspended for 14 days without pay for their activities.

Four other employees, including two lawyers, were issued permanent letters of reprimand.

A |Witch Hunt'

In the course of the investigation, OTS interviewed 20 staff members for between 15 and 45 minutes each and held numerous meetings with senior management to discuss the matter, according to Chuck Smith, an attorney at Baltimore-based Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver, which represents the OTS union and one staff member in appeals of the matter.

"They had two high-ranking lawyers. conducting this witch hunt," Mr. Smith said. "I can't fathom the amount of money that has been wasted on this."

Mr. Smith says his fees have reached the $10,000 mark. OTS will have to pay them if he wins his case.

The OTS won't reveal its costs, but staff lawyers were on the case for six months, Mr. Smith said.

Agency Calls It Gambling

"The agency has determined that fantasy sports are gambling," Mr. …

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