Friday, November 4, 2011

Does the former CEO of the National Restaurant Association with ties to Romney campaign know more than he is saying?

On Tuesday I broke the story that a Romney supporter, the subsequent C.E.O. of the National Restaurant Association after Herman Cain likely had access to inside information about the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain.

Given a piece of news today about the timing of settlement, the likelihood Steven C. Anderson had knowledge of at least one of the settlements is extremely high.

According to information at the National Restaurant Association Steven C. Anderson took over at the National Restaurant Association in September 1999.  According to Joel Bennett, per CBS News, attorney for one of the women who received a settlement, the settlement agreement was executed in September 1999, the same month Steven C. Anderson took over as C.E.O.  It would be highly unusual to take charge as the executive without knowledge of recent or impending litigation status.

Steven C. Anderson claims no knowledge

A reporter took my advice and followed up with Steven C. Anderson.  According to the Boston Globe:

"Chris Krese, a spokesman for Steven Anderson, told the Globe, 'He has not commented about this story because he didn’t have knowledge of the allegations when he was president and CEO of the (National Restaurant Association). He didn’t have knowledge of it so he obviously couldn’t have provided the story to the media or anyone, and he didn’t provide the story to the media or anyone.'”

I tend to take people at their word when their explanation is plausible, so I left it alone for a few days.

So does Steven C. Anderson know more than he is saying?

He has to know more.

Set aside the exact timing in September of him taking office at the National Restaurant Association for a few moments and find some description of his role when he came aboard:

According to an August 30, 1999 article in Nation's Restaurant News Steven C. Anderson was well versed in his new role when he took office in September 1999:

"Anderson now is learning the ropes at the NRA. Since the announcement of his appointment in late May, he has spent much of the summer in conducting an organizational audit of the group and talking With the board's leadership. He also has visited the Educational Foundation and attended a meeting of the International Society of Restaurant Association Executives.

In early August he moved his personal effects -- pictures of his children, several photos of past presidents wishing him well and framed articles chronicling his career -- into his new corner office. He now is collecting the war stories of senior staff members behind closed doors. In September he will tackle budget issues. After assessing the necessity and effectiveness of programs that are now in place, he will begin to make changes, he said." (emphasis added)

Once again, as I said on Tuesday:

"Reporters should follow-up with Mr. Anderson to discern his knowledge.  At the least he likely knows the short list of people with inside knowledge about the sexual harassment allegations."

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