The Office of Thrift Supervision will have to pay a former examiner nearly $800,000, after failing to appeal the award to the Supreme Court.

Michael J. Haley sued the agency in 1990 after he was fired for disclosing examination information to the owner of an embattled Missouri thrift.

The former examiner said he was trying to expose what he considered to be unfair treatment of Marion County Mutual Loan and Building Association, Hannibal.

During an eight-year legal battle Mr. Haley's complaint was initially rejected by the Merit Systems Protection Board and a circuit court. But in February 1997 a district court determined that his actions were protected under federal whistle-blower laws, and ordered OTS to pay Mr. Haley $723,000 in lost wages and damages. That decision was upheld in March by the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The government had until Sept. 1 to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. According to an OTS spokesman, William E. Fulwider, the agency asked the U.S. Solicitor General's office to take the case but was turned down because of a heavy workload.

Interest of more than $60,000 accrued while the OTS appealed the case. The agency will tap the Savings Association Insurance Fund's reserves to pay Mr. Haley, Mr. Fulwider said.

"I don't consider this a victory," Mr. Haley said. "My career has been destroyed."

Today, Mr. Haley is a bookkeeper at Saks Fifth Avenue. The thrift he tried to protect operates as $65 million-asset MCM Savings Bank, under its original owners.

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