``Without spelling out the reasons, President Nixon fired Mr. Lapin in November 1969. One White House aide cited Mr. Lapin's "lack of cooperation" with HUD Secretary Romney. Mr. Lapin refused to go quietly and continued showing up for work. He fulminated to the press that the White House hadn't presented any valid reason for sacking him; he accused the White House of turning Fannie into "a patronage pudding." Mr. Lapin tried unsuccessfully to get a court order keeping him in his post. At one point during this standoff, according to former Fannie employees, the lights and phone lines went dead at Fannie -- an event some interpreted as a message from the White House.''

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