The Real Deal New York

Wafra fires head of real estate over sexual harassment claims

Francis Lively allegedly made repeated physical advances, forcibly kissed his subordinate
June 04, 2018 06:15PM

Francis “Frank” Lively (Credit: Privcap)

Wafra Investment Advisory Group terminated its head of real estate over allegations that he routinely sexually harassed a vice president at the company.

Sabine Kraut accused Francis “Frank” Lively of trying to pursue a romantic relationship with her over the course of at least six years, despite her repeatedly rejecting his advances, Bloomberg reported. She alleges that her refusal cost her promotions and, at times, caused her to fear for her safety.

In a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Friday, Kraut claimed Lively — her direct manager — made physical advances during various business trips and on one occasion forcibly kissed her. He also allegedly wrote her letters and poems, calling her “hot as a firecracker” in one letter and attaching an actual firecracker to the note.

In another letter, he allegedly wrote: “If we continue to work together, I will always have the small pleasures of innocently taking your hand to examine your thumb and with that touch, feeling eight miles high, or taking your arm to whisper something to you at a meeting and catching that wonderful scent of you.”

Lively also frequently called Kraut “Schatzie,” a German word for “darling,” the complaint claims. After becoming her direct supervisor, Lively allegedly showed up to Kraut’s house uninvited, causing her to fear for her safety.

Wafra, which is backed by Kuwait’s pension fund, is also named as a defendant in the complaint.

The company fired Lively in April.

“Wafra is committed to a safe and welcoming environment for all of our team members,” a spokesperson for the firm said in a statement to Bloomberg. “We were made aware of these allegations for the first time in the middle of April 2018. Following an immediate internal investigation Wafra took appropriate action.”

The company’s real estate portfolio includes 2 Cooper Square, a 133-unit rental building in Noho, and 138 East 12th Street, an 85-unit rental building in the East Village, as well as assets in California, Texas and Florida.[Bloomberg] — Kathryn Brenzel