Based on conversations with people at the time, it seems plausible to me that this is true. However, this is not as serious a concern as you might think: IMHO it was reasonable to consider both SBF and Tara highly untrustworthy at the time. Will trusted SBF too much, but his skepticism of Tara seems justified. Tara's hedge fund suffered a major loss later, and I heard she showed low integrity in communicating with stakeholders about the loss.
Relevant quote from the article:
“He was treating it like a ‘he said-she said,’ even though every other long-time EA involved had left because of the same concerns,” Bouscal adds.
FWIW, I would totally want to openly do a postmortem. once the bankruptcy case is over, i'll be pretty happy to publicly say what i knew at various points of time. but i'm currently holding back for legal reasons, and instead discuss it (as you said) "behind closed doors". (Which is frustrating for everyone who would like to have transparent public discussion, sorry about that. it' is also really frustrating for me!)
I think the truth is closest to "we had a bunch of hints that we failed to assemble"
Which senior decision makers in EA played a part in the decision to make the Carrick Flynn campaign happen? Did any express the desire for it not to? Who signed off on the decision to make the campaign manager someone with no political experience?
I would add that SBF and people around him decided to invest a lot of resources into this. As far as I can tell, he didn't seem interested in people's thoughts on whether this is a good idea. Most EAs thought it wasn't wise to spend so much on the campaign.
I knew about Sam's bad character early on, and honestly I'm confused about what people would have expected me to do.
I should have told people that Sam has a bad character and can't be trusted, that FTX is risky? Well, I did those things, and as far as I can tell, that has made the current situation less bad than it would have been otherwise (yes, it could have been worse!). In hindsight I should have done more of this though.
Should I have told the authorities that Sam might be committing fraud? All I had were vague suspicions about his character and hints that he might be dishonest, but no convincing evidence or specific worries about fraud. (Add jurisdictional problems, concerns about the competence of regulators, etc)
Should I not have "covered up" the early scandal? Well, EAs didn't, and I think Kerry's claim is wrong.
Should I have publicly spread concerns about SBF's character? That borders on slander. Also, I was concerned that SBF would permanently hate me after that (you might say I'm a coward, but hey, try it yourself).
Should I have had SBF banned from EA? Personally, I'm all for a tough stance, but the community is usually against complete bans of bad actors, so it just wasn't feasible. (EG, if I were in charge, Jacy and Kerry would be banned, but many wouldn't like that.)
SBF was powerful and influential. EA didn't really have power over him.
What could have been done better? I am sincerely curious to get suggestions.