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FDIC scrutinized for ‘toxic culture’ and ‘boozy hotel’ in Virginia Square

FDIC “hotel” in Virginia Square (via Google Maps)

Would you be surprised to know that the FDIC maintains an 11-story hotel in Virginia Square?

Would you be more surprised that the fledgling bank regulators there for training were apparently partying so hard it prompted a Wall Street Journal article?

The Journal published an investigation yesterday headlined: “Strip Clubs, Lewd Photos and a Boozy Hotel: The Toxic Atmosphere at Bank Regulator FDIC.” It details an alleged toxic culture of sexual harassment, misogyny and heavy drinking within the federal agency, as well as a lack of accountability for bad behavior.

“Female examiners left the FDIC because of what they say was a sexualized, boys’ club environment and the belief they were consistently given fewer opportunities than their male counterparts, according to interviews with more than 100 current and former employees, including more than 20 women who quit,” the Journal reported of the seemingly staid insurer of deposits and monitor of bank solvency.

“The FDIC’s 11-story hotel outside Washington, where out-of-town employees stay when attending training, was a party hub, where people have vomited in the elevator and urinated off the roof after nights of heavy drinking,” the article continues. “The carousing spawned an Instagram account that posted in 2021: ‘If you haven’t puked off the roof, were you ever really a FIS?’—referring to a bank examiner-in-training.”

The article goes on to suggest that uninhibited FDIC trainees have been terrorizing Arlington bars for years.

A center of the FDIC’s party culture was the agency’s hotel. The FDIC spent more than $100 million in the 1980s to build a training complex in Arlington, Va., that included a hotel for agency staff with more than 350 rooms, an outdoor pool and a rooftop patio. The FDIC said the hotel and training complex save the agency money.

Employees, from new hires to supervisors, often gathered on the roof for drinks, buying alcohol at the nearby liquor store. Some employees joked that the hotel is like an embassy: If they can get back to the hotel after creating chaos at nearby bars, they’ll be fine.

Trips to the complex eased during the pandemic but have rebounded since then, with employees as recently as this summer drinking on the roof and hitting nearby bars before arriving hungover at training the next day, a current employee said.

The Journal cites two specific cases that led to arrests in Arlington. A man “found passed out behind the wheel of a running vehicle outside the FDIC hotel” in 2016 pleaded guilty to DUI, and a man who in 2014 “became so inebriated that other employees felt they were being held hostage” was arrested in an FDIC hotel room and charged with public intoxication, per the WSJ.

“Neither man was fired,” the paper noted.

Photo via Google Maps

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