Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) is urging the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to sell the five-star hotel it owns in Paris to help fund the cost overruns at the Aurora VA hospital.
The VA owns Pershing Hall, a 5-star boutique 24-room hotel, restaurant and club in Paris, and is currently leasing it to a private company, L.A. Partners, on a 99-year lease ending in 2097.
Due to VA mismanagement, the Aurora hospital is currently nearly a billion dollars over budget. The VA’s pl
PHILADELPHIA — Two months after testifying to Congress for a third time about the Department of Veterans Affairs Philadelphia regional office, this time about a “revolving door of taxpayer waste,” culture of retaliation and improper behavior — like two managers asking workers to pay one’s wife to contact the dead — whistleblower Kristen Ruell said little had changed.
“I’m wondering what problems have been fixed,” she said Monday, as a bipartisan delegation of congressmen showed up to grill managers about the scandal that has engulfed the office, which oversees benefits to more than 800,000 veterans in three states. “I’m seeing the same things, and it’s worse than ever. Employee morale is at an all-time low.”
Nine congressman and one senator inspecting the office Monday said they heard a similar message during a closed-door meeting with Ruell and other employees — very different than the upbeat assessment from managers in a separate meeting.
“It seems to me there’s a bit of a disconnect between what management is saying and what many people who are working here are saying,” Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., said at a press conference outside the office. During the press conference, several lawmakers pointed to an administrative investigation board report expected June 30 that will “name names” of those responsible for the scandal.
“We’re going to make some major changes — maybe fire people,” Rep. R
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Several employees are reportedly on leave while an alleged incident is under investigation at the Pittsburgh VA Hospital in the city’s Oakland section.
Authorities are not releasing any details at this time, but have issued a statement.
The statement from Donald Manuszewski, the spokesperson for the Veterans Administration, says:“VA Pittsburgh does not tolerate harassment of any kind. We are aware of this incident and are currently investigating it. Once the investigation is complete we will take appropriate action. It’s important to understand we are committed to providing our employees with a safe work environment without regard to their race, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and sex stereotyping), age, or disability.”
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, five employees have been put on paid leave after another employee was reportedly tied up and duct taped and then left alone.
No details were released on whether the employee who was allegedly tied up was injured.
Manuszewski assures the public the incident will be resolved as the VA continues to provide services for veterans.
“I would like everyone to know we take our responsibility to America’s veterans very seriously and we provide them with the best possible health care in the Pittsburgh area.”
NORMAN — A former nurse at the Norman Veterans Center was accused Monday in a felony charge of failing to do required checks on a disoriented patient who ended up falling in his room, hitting his head and dying.
Ashley Dawn Sands, 34, of Blanchard, was charged in Cleveland County District Court with caretaker abuse. The Oklahoma Veterans Affairs Department fired her Nov. 17.
James William Laughlin, 85, died Oct. 15 at the hospital from an acute right subdural bleed caused by blunt force trauma to the head. The Korean War Veteran, who had dementia, had been at the nursing home for only about a month.
Sands has not been arrested. A woman who answered the phone at a number listed for her on nursing records hung up twice.
The VA will have to answer more tough questions. Today, one of its senior procurement officers accused the agency of a lack of oversight and even fraud, resulting in millions of dollars of waste.(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)JAN FRYE: Before I go further, I want to assure you I do not enjoy being a whistleblower. I am not a disgruntled VA senior executive.MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:That was Jan Frye in front of a House panel. He says the fraud and abuse at the VA involves more than $5 billion in spending each year without the necessary contracts. NPR’s Tom Bowman has more.TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Jan Frye is a bull-like man, a retired army colonel. He spoke in rapid-fire delivery before a House Veterans Affairs subcommittee, challenging the VA officials who sat right next to him.(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)FRYE: I can state without reservation that the VA has and continues to waste millions of dollars by paying excessive prices for goods and services due to breaches of federal procurement laws.BOWMAN: Frye said that for years VA employees have failed to engage in required competitive bids or sign contracts that would control costs for supplies in health care services.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has been spending at least $6 billion a year in violation of federal contracting rules to pay for medical care and supplies, wasting taxpayer money and putting veterans at risk, according to an internal memo written by the agency’s senior official for procurement.In a 35-page document addressed to VA Secretary Robert McDonald, the official accuses other agency leaders of “gross mismanagement” and making a “mockery” of federal acquisition laws that require competitive bidding and proper contracts.Jan R. Frye, deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics, describes a culture of “lawlessness and chaos” at the Veterans Health Administration, the massive health-care system for 8.7 million veterans.
A former federal employee admitted embezzling about $150,000 from a Veterans Affairs retail store and blowing the cash on strippers, prostitutes and gambling sprees, the Justice Department said Tuesday. Glenn Alan Bates, 57, of Saline schemed to steal money from a VA retail store — or canteen — he managed in Ann Arbor, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison. Bates, who was released on $10,000 unsecured bond Tuesday, told investigators he spent some of the cash on a stripper named “Ashley” at an Ohio strip club, according to court records. He said he often spent $500 a night on lap dances — and more. “After visiting the club numerous times, Glenn Alan Bates convinced Ashley to come to his hotel room for sex, for which he paid her,” VA Special Agent Frederick Lane wrote in a court filing. The hotel trysts were frequent and non-exclusive. Bates said he also met with other strippers and prostitutes, according to court records. “Glenn Alan Bates stated he became addicted to the sexual encounters and he stole cash from the canteen to pay for this addiction,” Lane wrote.