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Fort Worth executive accused of sexual harassment resigns

One of the top executives at the Fort Worth-based American Association of Landmen was forced to resign this week amid allegations of sexual harassment.

Executive Vice President Marty Schardt was asked to step down because “personnel issues came to light that risk casting a negative light on our association,” President Roger Soape said in an email sent to board members and employees that was obtained by the Star-Telegram.

Holly Carless, a lobbyist for the association, filed a lawsuit in Tarrant County civil court last week accusing Schardt of “unwanted provocative touchings” at the office for more than a year. She is seeking at least $1 million in damages.

“While the facts of the recently publicized allegations are still unclear, the distraction created in the process has been unproductive and we believe AAPL is best served by a new Executive Vice President,” Soape wrote.

Soape did not return a phone call from the Star-Telegram seeking comment.

Stacy Armijo, a senior vice president at Pierpont Communications, said the group will have no comment beyond that communication.

“That is the extent that we can comment on it,” Armijo said. “We want to respect the privacy of everyone involved and want to focus on the future.”

Carless, who until recently worked for Schardt, has also filed a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission, according to her attorney, Jason Smith.

Asked about the lawsuit late last week, Schardt had no comment.

According to the lawsuit, Schardt grabbed Carless’ leg above the knee at a lunch where her salary was discussed, and he said, “If you leave with me and go to a hotel, I can arrange a bonus for you.”

On another occasion, the suit says, Schardt came up behind Carless at a copy machine, put his arm around her waist and said, “You look hot; we should get a room.”

Last summer, Carless and other employees were made aware that Schardt had been looking at a pornographic website on a company computer, demonstrating his lack of self-control in the workplace, the lawsuit says.

Max B. Baker, 817-390-7714

Twitter: @MaxbakerBB

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