Postmaster General Praised Big Spending Official

By Maddy Sauer

Sep 1, 2006 9:35am

The U.S. Postmaster General John Potter praised his vice president of communications Azeezaly Jaffer upon his resignation shortly after an inspector general report revealed that Jaffer spent thousands of dollars in postal funds on extravagant meals and hotels. Potter said Jaffer "maintained a strong focus on public service in every position he has held," according to a June memo obtained by ABC News. Potter went on to ask other Postal Service employees to join him "in thanking Azeez for his outstanding contributions in his almost 30 years of government service," the memo says. Jaffer resigned in June less than two weeks after the postal service Inspector General’s report revealed his extravagant spending and also alleged that Jaffer drank in excess at business events, at times to the point of unconsciousness, and sexually harassed female employees. Potter’s memo made no mention of the allegations in the report and said that Jaffer was leaving the service "to pursue other career opportunities." Jaffer’s attorney issued a response claiming that the Inspector General’s investigation was triggered by a disgruntled postal service employee who had been having an affair with a subordinate. Jaffer had recently reassigned the subordinate, and "the employee retaliated against Mr. Jaffer by making unfounded allegations," according to Jaffer’s attorney. Regarding the expenditures, the attorney’s statement said that they had all been reviewed and approved and that given the number of people that had been in attendance at the events, the cost was reasonable. Jaffer’s attorney’s statement also said that no employee has ever filed a sexual harassment claim against Jaffer and that the allegations about his excessive drinking were unfounded. As vice president of communications, Jaffer earned $164,000 a year, supervised a staff of 160 employees and managed a $20 million budget. A spokesperson for the Postal Service said that Jaffer has resigned and is no longer performing any official duties, but he is still collecting for two months worth of accumulated vacation days. No official action was taken against him following the release of this report. He will continue to collect a paycheck from the government until Oct. 1.

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