Recently, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has been on the plaintiff’s side of the courtroom, gunning for Credit Suisse, Bank of America and others for misdeeds that occurred during the housing crisis of 2008. This time, however, the chief operating officer of the FHFA gets his turn in the defendant’s chair, with felony charges on the line.

Richard Hornsby was charged on April 30 with a felony count of threatening to kidnap or injure a person, court documents say. Hornsby allegedly made the violent threats against former FHFA director Edward DeMarco.

According to the Wall Street Journal, court documents show that Hornsby threatened to shoot DeMarco, as well as himself, after making increasingly violent threats for weeks. FHFA officials informed the agency’s inspector general about the threats on April 28, at which time DeMarco was “escorted to a secure location following a report of a threat,” say the documents.

For DeMarco, the threats against came as he was planning to retire from the agency. His last day as director came on April 30. Horsnby, meanwhile, is a relative newcomer to the agency, having joined the FHFA in November 2011 after 26 years with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. According to court documents, the two butted heads over Hornsby’s performance at the agency, leading to the threats.

In addition to the felony charge, Judge Karen Howze also issued a restraining order against Hornsby, forcing him to stay away from both his workplace and from DeMarco. Hornsby was released without bail, and another hearing in the case is set for May 14.

The new FHFA director, Mel Watt, told FHFA employees that Hornsby’s duties will be taken over by Eric Stein, a former Treasury Department official who joined the FHFA in January.


For more in (hopefully less violent) legal news on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHFA, check out these articles:

Credit Suisse reaches settlement with FHFA

Wells Fargo and HSBC agree to settlements over alleged insurance overcharging

Morgan Stanley could pay $275 million financial crisis settlement to SEC

Fannie Mae sues nine major banks over Libor manipulation