FEMA to probe alleged misconduct at Louisiana office

NEW ORLEANS, LA (AP) - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is sending the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to New Orleans to review allegations of misconduct at FEMA's hurricane recovery office in the city.

A spokesman for Napolitano's office said Thursday that acting FEMA Administrator Nancy Ward is traveling to New Orleans on Friday to begin the review. A FEMA spokesman says at least 80 complaints have been filed by employees against co-workers in New Orleans since the beginning of the year.

A congressional hearing earlier this week aired allegations of sexual harassment, cronyism, nepotism and other ethics violations at the office. U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu expressed concern Thursday that a "toxic" working environment at FEMA's New Orleans office is hampering the region's recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

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