VA Official Pushed Psychic Readings On Employees, Collected Fee

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VA Official

Benjamin KrauseIn a new report, OIG concluded VA official Lucy Filipov abused her power when she pressured employees to participate in psychic readings for pay at her home during a party.

Specifically, OIG reported that acting Philadelphia benefits director Filipov misused her position when she collected a fee from her VA subordinates at a party at her home. At the party, Filipov pressured subordinates to participate in occult rituals with a practicing psychic-medium for a fee that she later collected. The psychic-medium is a colleague’s wife and the money was supposedly given to the psychic.

Is anyone surprised about this one? Given how much these folks earn, I would expect a higher caliber of behavior both on the field and off. Can we trust people like this with billion in claims for benefits?

But it gets better.

The psychic is the wife of none other than Gary Hodge. Hodge is the Philadelphia pension manager who was just caught withholding tax disclosures from his annual Confidential Financial Disclosure Reports. He filed to disclose his wife’s earnings. I guess she did not see that one coming despite being a “psychic.”

According to coverage from HNGN, the attendees were none too satisfied from the occultist entertainment that evening:

Attendees told investigators that they paid between $15 and $35 for the psychic services. They left the money in Filipov’s kitchen, who then collected it and gave it to Hodge’s wife. Most were unhappy with the experience and bickered over who was going to be read first so they could go home sooner.

The report found that Filipov failed to first check with an ethics official to approve the event, and she misused her authority by encouraging subordinates to attend the readings for the private gain of Hodge and his wife. Further, the report said Filipov failed to maintain adequate distance between herself and the subordinates she handpicked to attend the event, possibly creating “an appearance of preferential treatment” and diminishing “her authority as a senior leader.”

While bad behavior is likely going to surface in most large organizations, Philadelphia VA has repeatedly been in the press for defrauding veterans by making numerous informal claims files vanish after detection. Agency hooligans proceeded to spy on Congressional staffers tasked within onsite investigations last year.

Where there is smoke there is fire. What do you think will be the next revelation coming out of Philadelphia VA?

Source: https://www.hngn.com/articles/96831/20150530/veterans-affairs-official-pressured-subordinates-to-pay-for-psychic-readings.htm

NOTE: The photo above is a stock photo depicting a “psychic” that I could post here without violating copyright, but it is not the actual picture of the psychic.

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24 Comments

  1. Let us hope that she isn’t requiring that VA adjudicators use this in claims determinations.

  2. Again, how about all the salvo of Veteran’s Files and years worth of unanswered/unopened mail found covered in filth and MOLD in the basement at that Philly VA, as well as the reported blatant security violations such as unsecured doors to sensitive file areas?
    I want to believe that there’s at LEAST a certain percentage of VA Employees with great work ethics and integrity amongst the majority of “bad apples”….but that’s me trying to remain the optimist here. However, it really seems you could take this locaton or ANY VAMC as a “sampling” in which you would be able to determine the “health or lack thereof the VA” as a whole system and the VA System is of ill health as much as the Veterans that require utilizing this “sick system”…and as long as the VA OIG only allows continued “slap on the hands and even promotions for such behavior and lackluster work performance”, nothing is going to change.
    Yes, this abuse of power with the psychic is deplorable, but WHY is the VA OIG and Sec. McDonald and Under Sec. Hickey NOT making ANY news in immediately going through all those ROTTING CLAIM FILES and ALL THAT UNOPPENED MAIL setting in filth in Philly basement? I mean, what about the Veterans they have blatantly ignored? How many possible Veteran suicides were caused by feeling totally ignored by no movement on the VA Claims nor answers to additional info sent to support their VA Claims?
    See, it just boggles my brain how even the VA OIG seems to forget the “VETERANS” when they investigate or release such reports…as in what are they doing to make things RIGHT fop them rather than just crap facts about what we al know is systemic dysfunction and abuse of power that I am betting could be found just about at any major VAMC and even VARO’s?
    This only infuriates me more because it sure SEEMS like Sec. McDonald is playing like an “Ostrich with his head in the sand” (I was being WAY too NICE there)….because I sure am NOT seeing ANY changes that are taking place to the benefit of VETERANS…only time after time of VA OIG releases of only cherry picked findings, and it ALWAYS ends in we hearing how the people involved are placed on “Administrative Leave WITH PAY” or like the “Psychic’s husband” being sent to D.C. to the next higher position that oversees ALL Pension and VA Payouts…after leaving the Philly VA is total disarray?!
    One would think destruction of or allowing a Veteran’s Claim File to ROT IN BASEMENT, et al, and allowing TAX PAYER FUNDED facilities to become in such disarray and unkempt would be an immediate termination…no collecting $200…or with the VA, add a few more sets of zeroes there…regardless of Union…JAIL TIME.

    If ANY of we Veterans were to even be the SLIGHTEST dishonest, or if folks at the VAMC’s , including so-called Dr.’s write blatant LIES in our medical records and we complain, we Vets are retaliated by them, threatened, harassed, et al…with any given VAMC’s “Patient Advocate” a complete joke because we Vets are ALWAYS “made to be THE PROBLEM, never the lying VA Employees”…and when we keep seeing year after year of NO REAL RAMIFICATIONS for these VA Employees at all levels, it sure does not give Vets any faith in the system and many have decided to just give-up and are homeless because dealing with the VA brings about stress and anxiety that stirs-up the ugly sediment and even affects physical health.

    As bad as this psychic incident is, I will again repeat the big question of HOW changes in the WHOLE VA will be for the BENEFIT for Vets? I wonder if these VA OIG reports are just “smoke and mirrors” to continue hiding the REALLY CRAP-TASTIC STUFF GOING ON?
    In all due respect to a fellow Human Being, not withstanding his position of VA Secretary, I am finding his stance to be simply RIDING THE WAVE OF TIME…never mind using the power he has been given to actually FIRE VA EMPLOYEES…he is not acting like ANY leader I can really respect in light of the VOLUME of scandals ALL OVER within the VA. It’s not rocket science to figure out that the foxes are guarding the henhouse and they are greedy as well as hungry.
    GET RID OF *ALL* BONUSES AT *ALL* LEVELS…no exceptions and watch the rats jump ship..President Obama is also showing dereliction of duty by NOT taking assertive action, rather than his repeated statement of “I have full faith in the VA OIG, VA Sec., and the VA to do what’s right for Vets” [paraphrasing]…nobody is taking REAL ACTION.
    WE MUST ENSURE Veteran’s Plight with the VA and the sick status of the VA is part of every debate and amongst all facets of this now ramping up for 2016 Presidential Election. We can do this. We Vets need to ensure that the talking points are NOT just about those that would wish to privatize the VA, thinking that would magically solve the problems…we need to make sure Veterans attend all the coming ‘Town Halls” and keep all the dark matters alive and well in main stream news because people have short attention spans in these days of social media…and we need to be at the heals of these Politicians like a pack of angry dogs.
    Sorry long rant this morning. Just getting sick and tired of being sick and tired!!!

    Will the next VA OIG report be on how VA employees are having Tupperware and Avon Parties…while Vets are killing themselves because the VA is failing them, denying, lying, hope we just die?

  3. She should have forecasted that the OIG was coming ,and that this nonsense was going to be exposed. Like Dennis said I hope she didn’t use this method in determining a disability rating. Anybody can be a psychic. If you are on your couch eatin between 6 and 7 ho hos a day, anybody can predict you may come down with the Beetus. The OIG should have been a DJ, spinning stories and carrying on. Now with this NSA business going on, the general public should be able to see who accessed a copy of your phone records, just like a security log and it should be no problem as long as they are held accountable.

  4. This quote, “The psychic is the wife of none other than Gary Hodge. Hodge is the Philadelphia pension manager who was just caught withholding tax disclosures from his annual Confidential Financial Disclosure Reports.” says it all….NOTHING about how Gary Hodge’s Facility has ROTTING CLAIM FILES and UNOPENNED MAIL from Vets covered in filth and mold in their basement….would not THAT be something of even more heinous of a dereliction of duty since it’s directly affected Veterans? It shows they have no backbone to discipline AV Employees for the BIG STUFF…but yet focusing on a psychic party…never mind NOT serving Veterans!???!!!!!

    VA OIG is part of this whole mess of a problem that’s the VA. Why is this being ignored? This is reminding me of how the Phoenix VA woman was only disciplined for taking Disney Vacation…never mind the waiting lists and Vets dying or killing themselves….same old smoke and mirrors and I really am tired of all this hypocrisy!

  5. All decision’s made by the VA are made to benefit themselves! They are not “there” for any VETERAN only for their FAT JOBS!

  6. So I like your work and I think you do a great job of helping Vets. God knows your book on Voc Rehab had more information on the first few pages than the VA gives you in months/years! HOWEVER the caption you used for this story is wrong. The woman in question is white. I believe the “psychic” was also white. Using the photo you did comes across as racist and I know that was not your intent at all.

    • i agree i dont know why you would put an image there in the first place to me not a Major issue slow news day looks like to me…

      • I use photos on every post as a rule. It was the best I could come up with that I could legally use to depict a psychic. Unlike major news outlets with their teams of photo journalists and deep pockets, I am a team of one and do the best I can to keep people informed and interested in real veteran issues.

    • Here’s the deal on the photo. I have to use photos without violating copyright. For that reason, I pay for a subscription to two photo databases. The photo here was the best photo displaying a psychic. The other close one was of a man… It so happens that the woman is a different color, but that is not the point. The photo was intended to be an illustration only for that somewhat unusual topic and it was the best one I could legally post on my website.

    • @Christopher Hull–

      What a TRITE crock of CRAP you assert! YOU and YOUR BRAIN has tried to make the imagery used “racist”, nothing less. Look at the larger issue at hand. Ben could be further from your ill-founded accusations.
      Another VA Employee posting on here from under their rock? Just saying…makes you look pretty low by trying to play the “racist card” and where it’s not even remotely the issue at hand nor the intention.
      Sometimes a picture simply is a picture.
      Get on track, pay attention, and try to keep-up. Please do not pull us down to your level of thinking…which was actually the *only* racists nuance here, ever thus far.

      • How can one play the race cards when they have the deck stacked up against them? There’s nothing wrong with one thinking critical about an image cause whether you realize it or not consciously and subconsciously we are creating images by minutes. So don’t get so butt hurt about someone questioning anyone including ourselves. If we had more people who think critical about their lives around them then maybe sit would get done.

  7. I spoke with a “psychic” and she told me not to expect any help from the past,from what she has seen,but to push forward and use our current social media to let our elected politians and hired DOD,CIA,VA officials that some of us VET’s from the 60’s still have some fight left in us. I married that”psychic” 47 yrs ago,and I know she is psychic,because she tells me”I know your thinking”all the time!!!

    • Ben asked: “What do you think will be the next revelation coming out of Philadelphia VA?”

      That they will hire Miss Cleo the TV psychic to find all those lost claims they have and then ask her to predict the outcome of the claims,so they dont have to read the evidence.

      I haven’t been here for a while. I am preparing a Writ of mandamus for the CAVC.

      I have asked The Sec, Under Sec Hickey, my VARO director, , the GC, the RC , etc etc…for application of this basic VA regulation to my evidence:
      Ҥ4.6 Evaluation of evidence.
      The element of the weight to be accorded the character of the veteran’s service is but one factor entering into the considerations of the rating boards in arriving at determinations of the evaluation of disability. Every element in any way affecting the probative value to be assigned to the evidence in each individual claim must be thoroughly and conscientiously studied by each member of the rating board in the light of the established policies of the Department of Veterans Affairs to the end that decisions will be equitable and just as contemplated by the requirements of the law.”

      So far they have refused to do that..

      This was why many of my past claims took so long., as within testimony I gave to the H VAC. They would not apply the basic regulation above.And think they can pull this again.

      I have not lost a claim yet, but everyone of them became a battle.

      CAVC writs are hard to win,but I intend to win mine.
      Even if I have to go to a Federal Circuit court.

      The above regulation has never been amended since about 1975, to add , to the last sentence, ‘accept for probative and compelling evidence from widow ,Berta M. Simmons, NY’

      If you die with 100% SC that caused or contributed to your death, although that is Total, the Director of my RO Buffalo, told me that is not a Permanent condition.
      All of my evidence says it is, and besides it should not even be an issue.

      The VA can use this tactic to deny accrued benefits,
      and maybe even DIC due a 100% P & T award, standing for ten years or more,because the director told me that the veteran’s death did not make his 1151 100% CVA ,plus SMC, granted under 1151, a Permanent condition.

      1151, outcome from successful FTCA case I had, untimely diagnose and no treatment, and no sudden CURE from the VA.

      That ridiculous reason came from her by phone, when she called me ‘to explain’ the decision….the decision gives no reason for the lack of accrued.It did verify I am still eligible for accrued however.

      I bust out laughing at what she said.
      I asked how is that different from the accrued 100% P & T SC for PTSD they awarded me in 1997? No answer.

      I never sent them a single piece of evidence to prove the PTSD was Perrnanent .

      I didnt have to.

      Death makes 100% SCs permanent.

      Next thing I know they will try to tell me he isn’t permanently dead.

      Make sure your spouses can use a PC.and the internet They will need all the help they can get,even if you die with a rating that you feel will garner DIC for them.

      Some of us are dealing with idiots who do not understand basic VA case law and/or refuse to apply it to our claims.

  8. Seems like a very convenient “DIVERSION” to focus the attention away from the real problems within that corrupt organization

  9. When trying to get to the office like the CA AG, we come to hitting brick walls and like trying to get to any agency of legislator has proven impossible for us injured or ill workers and it was just recently printed that 3 were arrested for calling themselves the police and using police power,, the top information officer to the CA AG,((making over 66, 000 dollars of state tax payer money)
    the biggest police department (500,000) across the states. They’re called the masons. I wrote a letter to the SACBEE about the fact that there are subgroups or “secret groups” that work in our government and since another has been arrested but not too much more on their affiliations to the masons.. Among several is one that is called the Rosicrucian’s, both claim to go back ot the Eygpt days and the Rosicrucian’s come out every 101 or 111 years. This group believes in the occult like astrology among other things like ESP, aliens and UFO’s and the Egyptian gods, that having inadvertently ( a friend pursuaded me) gone to a meeting of theirs in 1994, AND that I couldn’t wait to leave because being there calling on the dead, actually scared me among other activities that were just outright weird. .
    My point is, that we don’t know who’s in public offices, who their staff are, who they’re married to or what kind of out of the normal belief system is and how that impacts us other than we cannot get close to the right officials for the services we need from agencies, public officials or their staff.
    This IS just an FYI

  10. Who is overseeing Labor Relations is the question ?? There is no accountability and too much chaos. The VA is attacking whistleblowers, but promoting negligent employees who are partakers in sentinel events where a veteran dies ( Fort Thomas, KY VA Nursing Home) , and the VA pays wrongful death suits, then promotes the same negligent caretaker who also tried to sell food stamps on government property, all while this person was claiming to have a workers comp claim. This is the same person getting drunk with Union Officials . There is a level of organized crime going on at the VA Hospitals, where we have a good ole boy system entangled with immorality, and racketeering schemes. National VA Counsel sits at the table with the VA Union, American Federation of Government Employees and it appears they are all corrupt, because back door deals are being made in the name of politics.

    • JR, you are 100% right on when it comes to the unions that govern every aspect of any labor relations both private and civil service in all of our country, all of it.. Timothy Perez is a union man who is head of the federal Secretary of Labor. They are also are in bargaining with worker comp legislation here in CA as they are in charge of all federal worker’s comp as well as with the SSA/Medicare AND it’s all for employers which would include the DOD/VA/SSA/MEDICARE. Timothy sits on the SSA/Dept of Treasury Boards, and some other boards as well as others from health and human services which govern ssa /medicare. There is too much power play by unions governing all aspects of all labor, whether a person belongs to a union or not, The afl-cio MAKES ALL LABOR ISSUES for employers only. When I worked at Kaiser, only the bad got rewarded just as those who worked in federal service. Just as I have asked for injured workers to be on certain boards, so should our vets be on boards for their interests like the VA.for starters, those who making life and death decisions.
      It’s all a very incestuous relationship when the same people are on the same boards representing their own agendas and its for employers including the DOD/VA.How the AFL-CIO got to run everything for all workers including how our vets get care or their benefits is stunningly corrupt. but that is the way it is run and there not only isn’t accountability but incentive to keep the corruption going. I tried suing SEIU but because I now obviously did not have the right attorney, I lost..
      A note, here in Sacramento, CA home of kaiser and the air force,, I heard of very recent vet who finally received his vet and ssa benefits, 3 weeks before he died ‘. He gave his sister the 3 weeks of benefits for taking care of him from throat cancer. It took him 8 hours a day to feed himself through a stomach tube. I swear that those who deny anyone care or other benefits , those who make decisions OF WHICH THEY KNOW NOTHING OF, are just evil bastards.

  11. Would it be ok if the readings were free? Or, what if they were, instead, forced prayer before dinner? OH MY GOODNESS! Think of the ACLU uproar if it was a Christian blessing? Those poor tortured people who were made to feel uncomfortable because they don’t believe in prayer. ok, a bad move to force paying money. Give the money back, chastise the employee and move forward.

  12. I think the va health care system in new jersey is a big joke. I’m staying at the VA hospital in lyons nj and I see it every day.

  13. i think it is incumbent for all vets and all of their groups to gather together, ill or not, to make all of your voices heard all at once, time and time again, to congress, senate and the president as soon as possible..

    • Its the same everuwhere! Does anyone actualy believe the VA is or will change. As far as any, or all, of the Veterans groups banding together- one might want to reconcider that thought!
      It is up to every American to do what is right- what that is I truely do not know. Someone once told me, the VA “is too corrupt, and will take a lot of time to correct!” I agree with that statement and have faith that things will occur against VA employees who break the law. When one mlght ask? That answer is yet to be answered!

  14. This is stupid. No different than someone having a Tupperware party at their house, and if you’re dumb enough to get suckered into paying someone for this then too bad for you. I doubt it was presented as “come or you lose your job,” but probably more like every other stupid party these days where you feel pressured by social obligation. This is not news – this crap has been going on in every workplace in American for God knows how long. Like someone above mentioned…must be a slow news day for you to try and kick up this as dirt on VA.

    • The difference is that you do not die on a waiting list to recieve your tupperware or girl scout cookies. Maybe you have a better news story for those who have bore the battle. ISIL probably would like to interview you Mr. Byrnes.

    • Actually I think it’s a good article as it shows a prime example of the mentality of those employed by the VA. Also, you might think it’s as harmless as a Tupperware party, but given the petty actions of many VA managers against employees, I bet there was significant pressure for them to attend.

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