Two top employees at the Architect of the Capitol who oversaw building operations in the House and Senate are no longer working there, months after they were put on administrative leave while they were investigated for emails critical of Christine Merdon, the former head of the agency.
Senate Building Superintendent Takis Tzamaras and House Building Superintendent Bill Weidemeyer both left the agency in July. Tzamaras said he resigned and Weidemeyer said he retired.
In April, when Christine Merdon was still the acting Architect of the Capitol, the agency put the two on administrative leave. Merdon left the agency in August and was replaced by Thomas Carroll, who is also working in an acting capacity.
Tzamaras, who was responsible for the Dirksen, Russell and Hart Senate office buildings, said he resigned and left with a letter of recommendation from Carroll that states his conduct did not involve sexual harassment or a hostile work environment.
“I’m only at liberty to say that all matters were resolved to the satisfaction of all parties,” Tzamaras said. “I resigned at the beginning of July and have a letter of reference from the agency. It basically clarifies that there was never an investigation into sexual harassment or hostile work environment.”
Tzamaras, who held the post of superintendent for the past six years, provided a copy of the recommendation letter to CQ Roll Call that characterizes him as an employee who performed in his role in an outstanding manner. Weidemeyer said he left with a similar letter of recommendation.
“Mr. Tzamaras was an outstanding performer and leader in the Architect of the Capitol,” the letter says. “He led one of the largest and most complex organizations in our agency, consistently achieving high client satisfaction ratings and high employee morale and engagement results.”
The letter goes on to address the investigation into the emails last Spring.
“In the Spring of 2019, an investigation occurred into alleged misuse of email communications involving Mr. Tzamaras and others,” the letter says. “The investigation did not result in the imposition of any administrative actions. His conduct did not involve sexual harassment or hostile work environment as may have been implied by the media.”
“Mr. Tzamaras resigned from the AOC with an outstanding performance record over his 17 years,” the letter says. “I would recommend him to any organization.”
Weidemeyer oversaw the Cannon, Ford, Longworth, Rayburn and O’Neill House office buildings along with the subways and garages. He started at the agency in 2000 and ascended to superintendent in 2008.
The investigation, according to Weidemeyer, started with the inspector general of the Architect of the Capitol finding the emails while investigating another employee. The emails critical of Merdon, who was then the chief operating officer of the agency, were between four senior executives and not shared outside of the group, Weidemeyer said.
Weidemeyer originally planned to retire years ago, but the former Architect of the Capitol, Stephen Ayers, asked him to stay.
“I originally retired from the Architect of the Capitol in September of 2016, and Mr. Ayers asked me if I would stay on as a rehired annuitant,” Weidemeyer said. “When the investigation came up, I decided to retire officially in July of 2019.”
“I look back on my career at the AOC with nothing but fond memories, and I’ve moved on to work in the private sector,” he said.
Laura Condeluci, a spokesperson for the Architect of the Capitol, said Michelle Kayon is the acting superintendent of the House office buildings and Lawrence Barr is the acting superintendent of the Senate office buildings.
Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report.
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