This story was updated at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 7, 2022, to clarify some details and a quote from Anderson.
Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson strongly denied allegations Friday that he had made comments that created a “toxic misogynistic and hostile workplace,” a claim that was made in an email sent to Planning Board Member Carol Rubin and Marlene Michaelson, executive director of the County Council, by someone within the county’s Planning Department.
WJLA first reported Thursday that Anderson had made those comments according to a confidential email obtained by the TV station. The news comes after the County Council decided Tuesday to fine Anderson a month’s pay for violating county rules by having a bar in his office and offering alcohol to colleagues.
Anderson said in an interview Friday that the alleged comments in the email “are false” and that “many of the ‘specifics'” are incorrect. He added that he would not be resigning as chair of the Planning Board.
He believes the results of an investigation by county officials into the email’s contents will exonerate him.
“I would also point out that 13 senior [planning] staff members sent a letter to the County Council [in recent weeks], saying I’m a good boss,” Anderson said. “That is a letter I did not solicit or play any role in.”
Anderson said he doesn’t have a copy of that letter, but learned about it through county planning staff. Gwen Wright, director of the county’s Planning Department, could not immediately be reached for comment.
WJLA reported that the author of the email is Partap Verma, vice chair of the county’s Planning Board. Verma said in an interview Friday that he could not comment on whether he wrote the email, as an “active investigation” is occurring.
Anderson said he could not comment on whether Verma drafted the email or not, but added people have likely been motivated by personal agendas.
“I can’t speak to what’s going on in other people’s heads. Those specific claims that have been raised include a combination of distorted, exaggerated, and in some cases, simply false characterizations,” Anderson said.
The Planning Board and planning staff have been in the public spotlight in recent weeks, after the news broke that the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Office of the Inspector General found that Anderson had kept a full bar in his office and served drinks to colleagues during non-business hours. Anderson apologized for the bar, and removed it from his office.
After an investigation, the County Council decided to fine Anderson a month of pay for having the bar in his office, and Verma and Carol Rubin, another Planning Board Member, a day of pay.
Verma said in an interview earlier this week that he was served a drink by Anderson on his first day as a Planning Board member in September 2019, but he declined it, as he does not drink alcohol. Rubin could not be reached for comment earlier this week.