Everywhere you have been, you have left your indelible mark. You have changed it, somehow, maybe for the better, maybe not, but your legacy remains, and always will.
Without this earned authority (that is, authority beyond title), you lose a lot more than you gain. Employees who work from fear will lose the will to put in extra effort, and confidence to suggest how to improve processes. Employees who are truly talented are more likely to leave for a position with leaders that make them feel respected, leaving the boss with the worst employees (which was actively occurring with the previously discussed boss).
Americans love scandal, they love to see people fail, and are far quicker to believe the dirt than they are the truth. If there's nothing scandalous, then they're ready to believe the first person because it's easier than looking for the truth.