Exclusive interview with former ADC president Mary Rose Oakar: On Imad Hamad and the Allegations
|Honorable Mary Rose Oakar, former ADC national President|
Thank you Honorable Mary Rose Oakar for your time.
-When were you the president of the ADC?
I was president of ADC from 2003 to 2009 and two months of 2010
- Are you aware of the sexual harassment allegations as to ADC and Imad Hamad?
Yes. First, I am absolutely disappointed in the comments in the USAToday article which I don’t think covered the issue objectively and professionally. I feel very badly for ADC’s reputation and Imad Hamad’s reputation. It is not true that these allegations were made several years ago, and that ADC did not take them seriously--absolutely not! As a matter of fact, these allegations were considered thoroughly by our Office Manager, and the Head of the legal Department and me. In addition, I hired an outside attorney to look into the allegations and any material we had. We flew to Dearborn from D.C. and questioned Imad. After a thorough investigation, our outside expert attorney instructed us on the law. This lawyer was a specialist in women’s issues and specifically sexual harassment; she had been head of the criminal division for a U.S. attorney’s office, and instructed us as to what was appropriate. We did take strong action based on her advice and our discussions. Rana Abbas worked for ADC before I became President and during part of my tenure as President.
Shortly before she left ADC to work for a former General to send Arabic speaking people to Iraq, known as GLS company, she told me, (for the first time) of an incident that was not physical, but verbal. I took her accusation very seriously, and, asked her to come forward. Unfortunately, Rana wanted to remain anonymous. The bottom line was with legal advice from an outside expert, that we should take certain actions with Imad even though he denied the accusations. In addition, after leaving ADC employment, Rana attended and supported events at ADC. She even purchased a booth for her company at an ADC Convention. She also visited the ADC office in Washington after leaving ADC employment. This contradicts her quote in USAToday that her "commitment to the organization disintegrated."
I feel badly for everyone involved, but we took appropriate action at the time based on outside legal advice. However, if new accusations occur, before the statute of limitations runs out, they should be dealt with professionally with outside expert legal assistance. The personnel policy manual which was written during my tenure as President includes sexual harassment and should be followed diligently.
Imad has worked tirelessly for ADC. Obviously, accusations true or not true can ruin a person’s reputation and ruin the reputation of an Organization.