IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — When she was the top federal prosecutor in northern Iowa, U.S. District Judge Stephanie Rose secretly monitored the whereabouts of employees who she felt didn't work enough, removed the office's civil chief because she believed he was a poor manager and fired an attorney whom she called "flighty," records show.
Rose, based in Des Moines and the nation's youngest federal judge at 40, made those statements during a May deposition in a lawsuit brought by former assistant U.S. Attorney Martha Fagg, a civil prosecutor who was fired by Rose in 2011.
Fagg, 56, contends Rose and Rose's then-top aide, Teresa Baumann, retaliated against her after Fagg raised concerns about age discrimination, destroying her 12-year career with the department. She was fired shortly after selling her house to complete an unusual, forced transfer from Sioux City to Cedar Rapids, 265 miles away. Fagg claims she faced intense micromanagement that made it almost impossible to work and ruined her health.
"I couldn't think. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. I wasn't myself," Fagg testified.
The Department of Justice released excerpts of depositions and other documents last week with a court filing arguing that Fagg's lawsuit should be dismissed. The filing called Fagg's firing justified, saying she had attendance, behavior and performance problems.
The records paint an unflattering picture of the Cedar Rapids-based U.S. Attorney's Office during Rose's tenure, which started in 2009 after her appointment by President Barack Obama. Rose, a criminal prosecutor in the office, started with a strikingly dim view of the civil division, which represents the government in mostly low-key matters ranging from Postal Service accidents to Social Security cases.
Rose said she had a "long list" of gripes with Larry Kudej, who had overseen the division for years with positive performance evaluations. She said his subordinates often weren't at work, that Kudej did not resolve personnel and conduct issues and was generally regarded as a bad manager. She replaced him with then-Iowa Department of Transportation lawyer Baumann, 35.