In the #MeToo era, the stakes are high for corporations failing to rout out sexual harassment.
Allegations of predatory behavior bankrupted Harvey Weinstein's company and forced Steve Wynn out of the company he co-founded, sending Wynn Resorts stock on a roller coaster ride.
In response, corporations and private equity firms are turning to private investigators like Dan Nardello — a former federal prosecutor at the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office, who now runs his own firm — in droves.
"An ounce of prevention is really worth a pound of cure here, because the cost of potential drop in stock price, legal and PR cost — the possibility of regulators getting involved and regulating industries — they are enormous compared with the relatively modest expenditure in hiring folks like us in order to rule out this behavior," said Nardello, CEO of Nardello & Co.
The veteran private investigator — Nardello has 25 years in the detective business — has seen about 35 percent more client calls related to sexual misconduct over the last six months.
"I have never seen a societal phenomenon that has had the impact on our business as the #MeToo movement and the post-Weinstein world," he said.
Corporations and private equity firms are looking for help in due diligence ahead of acquisitions, said Nardello. Other clients want help looking into the backgrounds of potential board members and C-suite hires, and some are seeking possible predatory behavior in competitors — a move that one of the firm's clients calls "weaponizing feminism."