Los Angeles VA Loses 30 Vehicles, Fires Whistleblower

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Los Angeles VA

Despite VA giving itself a certification on supporting whistleblowers this month, the Los Angeles VA has been in “LaLa Land” when it comes to protecting whistleblowers.

The backdrop of this story begins a few years ago with a VA employee named Anthony Salazar. While at Los Angeles VAMC, Salazar worked in the facility’s engineering service. In 2013, he reported that 30 of 88 VA vehicles were “unaccounted for” and credit card fraud.

VA investigated the report and concluded poor management contributed to the theft of 30 VA vehicles. Salazar’s boss received a written reprimand. Taxpayers swallowed the loss.

End of the story, right?

LOS ANGELES VA HARASSMENT

No, like all good VA supervisors, Salazar’s decided to screw over the employee who reported fraud and waste. The offending supervisor in this instance is Engineering Service Chief Robert Benkeser.

RELATED: VA Earns Certification For Whistleblower Protection Training

According to the Office of Special Counsel, “Afterwards, that manager changed Mr. Salazar’s performance standards and later recommended his termination.” He was fired in 2015 and filed a whistleblower complaint.

WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION? WHERE?

Enter stage left the 2012 Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.

The Act, signed by President Barack Obama, requires that employees whose normal work requires reporting wrongdoing must prove an elevated standard for retaliation.

RELATED: Whistleblower Reports Doctor Fraud, Gets Run Out

Basically, if you work in OIG, and you report wrongdoing, you need to video record the wrongdoer harassing you in order to prove the harassment. I am being tongue-and-cheek here, but the elevated standard is hard to meet.

For Salazar, the agency’s position is that he also had an elevated standard because he was a federal employee, and federal employees are required to report wrongdoing, therefore Salazar must break out the video camera to prove he was retaliated against.

The presiding judge at the Merit Systems Protection Board agreed with this position and held that Salazar did not meet his burden.

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) does not agree, and it has filed a third amicus brief to support Salazar. According to OSC, the elevated burden does not apply to Salazar because he only had a general duty to report wrongdoing.

This factual conclusion seems obvious to me, but you know how things go within the government when it comes to obvious conclusions. The little guy tends to get screwed.

Perhaps it is the “little guy” burden?

OSC AMICUS BRIEF

Anyway, here are the facts from the amicus brief:

Anthony Salazar worked as the Motor Vehicle Operator Supervisor for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System’s Engineering Service. See Salazar v. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, No. SF-1221-15-0660-W-1 , 2016 WL 2659432, at 2 (M.S.P.B. Initial Decision May 4, 2016). On October 10, 2013, Mr. Salazar emailed his first level supervisor, Engineering Service Chief Robert Benkeser, about problems with agency vehicle and fleet card usage, including unaccounted for vehicles and keys, lax recordkeeping, delinquent maintenance, and irregular purchases with fleet cards. On October 24, 2013, Mr. Salazar sent another email to Mr. Benkeser and his second-level supervisor, the Assistant Director for Administration and Facilities, about the continued problems with agency vehicle and fleet card usage. Mr. Salazar described how 30 of the 88 agency vehicles were unaccounted for, explained how ten fleet cards were suspected of fraudulent purchases, and pressed the urgent need for the VA to get the situation under control. Id. at 2-4.

As a result, the VA convened an Administrative Investigation Board (AlB) in January 2014 to examine the facts and circumstances surrounding stolen agency vehicles, including whether managerial oversight played a part in the theft of such vehicles. The AlB concluded that managerial oversight contributed to the theft of government vehicles, for which Mr. Benkeser received a letter of counseling. The AlB did not recommend, nor did Mr. Salazar receive, any disciplinary action based on the AlB report. Id. at 4-6.

In March 2014, Mr. Benkeser denied Mr. Salazar’s request for team training. 1 In June 2014, Mr. Benkeser changed Mr. Salazar’s performance standards, which led to a notice of unacceptable performance and placement on a performance improvement plan (PIP) in September 20 14. After Mr. Benkeser recommended Mr. Salazar’s removal for failing the PIP, the VA removed Mr. Salazar from federal service on February 4, 201 5. Jd. at 6.

Mr. Salazar filed a complaint with OSC, challenging the above personnel actions as retaliation because of his disclosures.2 After OSC closed his complaint, Mr. Salazar timely filed an individual right of action appeal with the MSPB. The Administrative Judge denied Mr. Salazar’s request for corrective action because he failed to meet the “extra evidentiary burden” under section 2302(£)(2) to establish that the disclosures made in his normal course of duties were “actually protected under the WPEA.” ld. at 8, 22-23. In reaching his decision, the Administrative Judge held that Mr. Salazar could not rely on the statutory burden-shifting framework usually applied in whistleblower retaliation cases, which would have required Mr. Salazar to prove by preponderant evidence that his disclosures were a “contributing factor” in the listed personnel actions.3 Jd. at 13. Under this established analysis, if Mr. Salazar made this prima .facie showing, the burden would have shifted to the VA to prove its defense of showing by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same personnel actions even in the absence of Mr. Salazar’s disclosures. The Administrative Judge, however, concluded “that meeting the contributing factor standard alone is not enough to meet the appellant’s higher evidentiary burden to show his disclosures were protected under the circumstances.” Jd. at 15.

Instead, the Administrative Judge found the agency’s defense and related “proof methodology” in the traditional burden-shifting scheme instructive for determining retaliatory motive under section 2302(£)(2). ld. at 14 (citing, e.g., Whitmore v. Dep ‘t of Labor, 680 F.3d 1353 (Fed. Cir. 2012) and Carr v. Soc. Sec. Admin., 185 F.3d 1318 (Fed. Cir. 1999)).

Specifically, he incorporated all of the factors typically required in the agency’s defense into the complainant’s prima facie case of whistleblower retaliation. Id. He then analyzed the “totality of evidence in the record speaking to the disclosures and personnel actions at issue in light of the factors speaking to the contributing factor and clear and convincing evidence standards in whistleblower cases” to determine whether Mr. Salazar had met the “in reprisal for” evidentiary burden in section 2302(f)(2). Id. at 15 (emphases added). Having found that Mr. Salazar failed to meet this heightened standard and show that his disclosures were protected, the Administrative Judge declined to adjudicate whether the disclosures were a contributing factor in the personnel actions, or whether the VA had proven its defense by clear and convincing evidence. Id. at 23.

VA WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION?

Think VA and VA OIG are any closer to protecting whistleblowers?

In a July 30, 2016, statement from Michael Missal, OIG “will protect whistleblowers while we thoroughly investigate their concerns through all avenues available to us.”

Missal apparently meant that once the investigation is over, VA OIG will turn the whistleblower over to the dogs they reported for the ritualistic abuse all to cancerous at VA.

That announcement was made on a Saturday, perhaps with the hope that no one would see it.

When it comes to protecting whistleblowers, I cannot for one second believe Missal will move the agency in the right direction. He has already restarted the pattern of Richard Griffin, to cover up the agency at all costs and abuse those who dissent against that message.

In this example, and maybe this is just me, but couldn’t Secretary Bob McDonald just hire Salazar back based on the wrongdoing?

Source: http://m.govexec.com/management/2016/08/special-counsel-argues-against-vas-bid-more-proof-whistleblowers/130506/?oref=river

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52 COMMENTS

  1. Something tells me that those 30+ vehicles and missing Federal Charge Cards are to be found at driveways of VA Employees around LA and at all costs were not to be ousted or exposed.

    See, yet another new and recent appointee (VAOIG) showing their crocodile teeth true colors and NOW does newly selected Board of Veterans’ Appeals chief Carol DiBattiste understand why Veterans are highly suspect of her motives when we have ALL heard similar promises of that alien thing called Accountability and the VA?

    How many more times will we convince ourselves that the VA will really, really do the right thing….this time? Not!!!!!!!

    The VA holds the Brown Standard for fraud and corruption and that award is presented on a stained toilet seat. (of course that toilet seat is made of gold…it’s the VA, but it’s still brown encrusted).

    • Namnibor,

      You are being polite again! The number 30 is a kinder, gentler number, but if the government acknowledges 30 vehicles are gone, it means there are at least 300 missing Have you EVER known of a case that the government fully acknowledges the real losses? They just never do that and given this particular agency the hope that anything they state as factual is the same hope that the outhouse just will not stink this time through.

      If the VA acknowledges that just some of its credit cards were used in self gifted bonuses, it means that all of them were. The deception is not the numbers they give, the deception is the idea that there are limits to what was discovered.

      When one doctor can walk away with more money than the entire gross annual domestic product of most states in our republic by devoting 1/8th of his time to humanity (vomitting now) then brother their aint NO limits on what is being bilked? You said we can find that stuff in their driveway? Which one? The one at the vacation condo in Tahitii? Or the flat in Maui? The Geneva driveway is full, so not there…

      and the wheels just keep,spinning. Good government since 1936.

      • Do note that I DID place a ‘+’ after the number 30? I DID leave ample leeway for the VA’s habitual inability to do math and provide honest and accurate data.

        However, god forbid that any Veteran should erroneously report mileage overages for travel pay as the VA will prosecute and possibly even send out the local police to force a suicide by cop as what has happened here in Ohio this week. Still very pissed about that and the family is asking serious questions that the VA of course, is refusing to answer and hope Ben looks into it.

        The VA can steal Gov’t. vehicles and credit cards but by golly, if a Veteran needs bus fare to get to and from an appointment, you are on your own highway to hell (the VA).

  2. This man should feel lucky!

    Most organizations found guilty of Grand Theft Auto, thirty counts, conspiracy, racketeering, credit card fraud, identity theft, and interference with the delivery of a federal healthcare product historically feed the stool pidgeon to the fishes.

    Concrete shoes I think. Unlike a lot of veterans, this man still breaths. Lucky, I say.

    AFGE – We have given America good government since 1936. Affiliated with AFL/CIO. No known Hoffa affiliation… yet.

  3. “After Mr. Benkeser recommended Mr. Salazar’s removal for failing the PIP, the VA removed Mr. Salazar from federal service on February 4, 2015.”

    Today’s subject proves what many of us who have retired from Federal employment know. It is not impossible to fire a federal employee and it has nothing to do with their union. The termination process requires management to first document the offense, counsel the worker, continue the documentation and then if the employee refuses to comply initiate termination procedures.

    It is my observation the VA lacks senior leadership. Their problems do not originate from the bottom, the whistleblowers, but from the top down.

    I get improved care at the VA’s rural sites. But, at Indianapolis the VA’s senior executives manage thousands of employees and it is in that environment that failure is more likely to occur.

    Speaking with one Indianapolis VA supervisor she stated, “When our Compensation and Pension staff go to lunch, we never know if they are coming back that day.” By making an example of one employee the others get the message. Why this ongoing problem continues is the result of the VA not replacing the Senior Executives with competent managers.

    • Respectfully the idea that the “problem” originates with any human, low or mighty, is erroneous. It is the red herring that VA as an organization would have us swallow.

      The example of the mafia is an apt example. Criminality does not fester in the mafia because of one individual. Likewise the mafia is neither sustained, substantially harmed, or destroyed with the comings and goings of any one man or even many. The mafia does not exist because of the evil of men or the anti-socialist behavior of a few thugs, the mafia exists because it is a cash cow. Period.

      It is the cash that draws the folks like iron filings are drawn to a magnet. After children are born into the mafia from their mafiosa parents the cash cow turns into an institution and right and wrong is defined as that which is good or bad for the mafia. The mafia reward with celebration and honors those individuals who contribute to the mafia. The mafia also has Disruptive Behavior Committees for its own customers who try to stand up to them. Same results.

      The VA is identical in every single respect to an organized crime syndicate like the good old fashioned mafia. The leaders change. Some do get caught, most do not. Both are now multi-generational organizations that have grown beyond their original charters and neither one needs to hide in the shadows anymore as they have become untouchable in most respects.

      Both represent gigantic cash cows and like the California Gold Rush or any other cash cow in mankind’s history both have left a trail of bodies behind them. The anguish does not stem from the top, or the bottom brother. The anguish stems from the source – America is happily feeding this cow, and when the bull poops the VA serves it up on a platter approved by RAND, endorsed by our President, and just as fresh as the moment it came out.

      • redturtle, Everything, and I do mean everything, always comes down to the “God Almighty Dollar”! Plus, who can get as much of it as possible, becomes powerful!

        It’s been said,

        “Money is the root of all evil!”

        That is the ‘truest statement’ ever in any language!

    • I am curious to know how Salazar rose to the position of a supervisor, then suddenly turned incompetent within months of reporting wrong doing.
      I’m curious why his performance rating changed. Did the change comply with his position description and duties? Or was it rewritten to comply with Obama’s Whistle blower retaliation act?
      I’m curious how he failed a performance improvement plan after he was denied training by the same nitwit that wrote the performance improvement plan, which has training as a requirement.

  4. Here’s a thought.
    “IF” Mr. Salazar can get the “Vin Numbers” of those vehicles, he might be able to locate them through the DMV. This would give the “sellers names” and the “buyers names”. Plus the “sale price” on who sold the vehicles! Even if those vehicles were sold “out of state”, the DMV can locate them!
    I’ll bet y’all, those ‘government vehicles’ were (illegally) sold for “pennies on the dollars!”

    After receiving this information, he should report the “theft” to an outside law enforcement agency, ie: FBI or equivalent.

    The “credit card” misappropriation is, or should also be, a matter for an outside law enforcement agency, ie; local FBI or equivalent. (I’ll bet that is still occurring at that VA!)

    I believe, by turning this over to an outside law enforcement agency. It will
    basically, put the VA on the defensive. Especially since it’s been reported within the VA!
    At which time, VA will come under more scrutiny over the theft of 100’s of thousands of taxpayers monies or more!

    Wouldn’t it stand to reason, “IF” Mr. Salazar were to report this, he would then be considered going “above and beyond” his required act as a whistleblower. And, he would also be showing the taxpayers his willingness to protect them from the corruption, fraud, waste and abuse within VA?
    Maybe then the news reporters would want to get more heavily involved. They may even want to help Mr. Salazar!?
    And maybe those Supervisors will be on the inside of the jail cell where they belong. (Along side “BUBBA” who is a veteran who was fucked by VA!)

    I also believe there’s more corruption going on at that VA!

    Just a thought!

    • Your points are perfectly valid except it does miss the reason entirely that this crime cannot be punished under our Constitution;

      These people are employed by the Executive Branch. Our Constitution gave powers to each branch and forbids one branch from directly intervening in another. POTUS himself would have to authorize prosecution of these people and even the n would have to beg his own people to proceed with doing it – which they will refuse with no consequences.

      Our Constitution does not require of the Executive branch any justification whatsoever by POTUS to forgive any crime. We know it as pardon and it makes me vomit to see the people released by pardon sometimes, but this is our system. The ONLY direct route For change is The People’s Freedom to Assemble and petition the government for answers. This is right number one. We have the First Ammendment right ONLY to demand answers of our elected officials. If he chooses, in response The Executive can drop his trousers bend over and give a big old BA to America and our only recourse is to attempt to elect somebody else when the wheels come around again. We are left with hope, which is as useful as a toilet paper tube with one square still attached.

      This is how this monstrocity has evolved. A simple idea to help vets who needed it evolved into a leviathan army of a quarter million who are beholden but to one man only – POTUS who was never meant to command his own social army. There is no provision for it enumerated within the Constitutional guidelines that I can see. It is a power that has been grabbed with deadly consequences. It was never meant to be.

      This is a Constituional crisis and the result is the catastrophy we see decade after decade, grave after grave, and billion after billion. VA must end or we will be bound to the same fate for generations more.

    • @crazyelf… The FBI wouldn’t arrest or detain Hillary Clinton for her actions as the Sec of State or for the corruption of the Clinton Foundation or the Clinton family foundation (and they are apparently two different things… you are supposed to be able to distinguish between the two of them by use of the lower case letters… so said the bee keeper at Clinton campaign) if COmey isn’t busting the Clintons why in the hell would he worry about lowly veterans?

  5. By the way. This was reported on the “Herman Cain Show”, a conservative news station “96.5” here in Central Florida, two days ago.
    It seems the “Democrats are paying TROLLS” to infiltrate as many websites (social medias) as possible. They want to cause as much problems between people as possible!

    I’m not sure if this includes sites like this. But, I wouldn’t put it past them. Especially since the Democrats have been anti-veteran & anti-law enforcement, etc., AND pro thug-centric & pro illegal immigration.
    As was witnessed at their “Convention” last month in Philadelphia!

    ———————————————-

    I’m sure most have seen the article over Omar Mateen’s, (the “Radical Islamic Terrorist” who murdered 49 and wounded 53 at the PULSE nightclub), father at Hillary’s rally in Kissimmee, FL. a few days ago.
    The “area” he was sitting in was a “reserved section”! To gain access to that section, requires monetary payment and giving your name to the DNC! Y’all won’t hear about that on the “Radical Liberal News Medias”!
    There’s been quite a (conservative) news media ferver down here on this issue. Especially since the father IS considered a ‘radical muslim’, ie; believes in Shariah Law. Supports Muslim radical groups, ie: al Quida, Hamas, ISIS and others. Hates the LGBT groups, etc., etc.!!!!!!!
    He even had a large “banner” calling for “Hillary For POTUS”! Also, on that banner was a call for more “Gun Control” by the Democrats!

    Don’t believe anything being reported on the MSM or from the DNC! They’ve been caught in too many lies.

    • @Crazyelf and All- That’s exactly what I have been talking about and the rather new “academic field” is called “Ethical Hacking”. If you recall, I had a Veteran buddy that I felt I could not trust anymore that was working part time through a Vet Homeless Social Worker Program (he as a degree in Psych), and the VA was paying for him to attend specific class seminar courses on…Ethical Hacking. I had to unfortunately go with my gut and intuition and skip on that continued friendship, as he is in another State anyway….but anyway, wanted to point out if the VA had approved this part time employee to attend such Ethical Hacking Courses, I am quite sure the VA’s IT Dept. and Public Manure Spin Machine does so as well.
      The problem for these trolls is we Vets are very keen to the smell of bullshit. 🙂 (and rotten cabbage)

  6. I have told you all about how an employee ? Who just did not like me from when I was a VA employee

    And how she reported me as being disruptive. Did not have to provide the disruptive committee with any evidence period.

    The chief of staff not requiring any proof and admitted they had no proof.

    Went ahead and call the OIG. Who told them to punish me. Without evidence. The chief of staff called the FBI. Who called me.

    The employee who reported me told the chief of staff. She would call my local police department.

    The chief of staff ( Disruptive Committee chairman ) told me he does not even know the employee Who reported me. Where record’s prove she sat on the committee. !

    The chief of staff forwarded any and all inquires for the reporting employee to answer herself.

    She when put in a report. Mr Gallegos. Us not allowed back at my cboc. Because be will not admit to being disruptive !

    The employee reporting me. Got and inquiry from my local VFW and when all was done. The employee now lead administrator. Hired the person from the DAV. That filed my case.

    The chief of staff threatening me with arrest. Federal charges and banishment from all VA care. If this employee or her friends ever say I have become disruptive again.

    Again. How can someone so something again. When it never happened in the first place. !

    Retalation. Is not only against current employees. But former employees and management will retaliate at will.

    You must remember. Many of these employees HAVE friends. Relative’s hand will retaliate and not worry about getting into trouble.

    You watch my back. I’ll watch you back. We’ll fix them. How Dare they turn is in. Don’t they know we will get back at them.

    I’m living proof

    • James,

      You are one of thousands. My appeals were not even forwarded when I appealed my flag. Each time the appeal was so air tight that they simply dismissed the old flag and reissued a new one, five times now, each with a completely different version of a non specific generalization that I had “disrupted” operations. At one point they sent me a letter stating at their own CBOC staff suffered PTSD amd that I personally was a trigger for it and was banned on that basis.

      This was all reported in two consequtive Sunday Editions of our newspaper. After that printed last October, VA again terminated my psychiatric care without explanation. I have been inquiring daily and have explained pount blank that they are in violation of the law.

      Three days ago I sent a message saying I demand to know why my psychiatric care was terminated. 28 hours later the police showed up at my door. They said VA Roseburg was “concerned” about me and they were sent to do a safety check. When I explained I had sent a service complaint which is markedly different than a suicide note, they explained that this was a common thing to them. tThe police seargent said simply, “We are aware of VA Roseburg. Please inform any reaponding officers that you are the subject of retailiation and they will promptly leave.”

      James, these people are sending out the local cops to shut up vets who complain and let me tell you it scares the hell out of me. Complain that your paychiatric care is terminated and they send the police. You are not alone my friend and you and I know full well the injustice going on.

      • Pitiful. I sent the president an email via white house. They requested My concerns. So I told them how they are denying veterans their disabilities. Using excuses like your record’s were destroyed in the st louis fire!

        Failure to assist.

        I also told them how the VA Is using the disruptive committee to punish veterans. Without evidence and how they are letting employees answer any and all correspondence and their the ones. Who lied in the first place. !

        I know that’s nothing will happen with the president. They told me that be looks at the e-mails nightly. !

        As you say the white noise will call the VA and the VA will probably. Do as you say and send the police. !

        I hope they do. I will show them what they did to you and if they arrest me. It would he s good thing. As then I can show a judge everything and when they are done with the VA

        The light will be on them and this illegal committee will be disbanded. And it will show them they are not above the law and veteran’s do have rights to s fair hearing

        And hearsay is not evidence.

        Im glad the police seen right through their ploy and knew the VA was just retaliating against you.

        It’s really sad ? That honest veteran’s can be falsely accused and are unable to fight back in a legal forum.

        Where the VA has to provide the evidence or back the hell off and the veterans can go on living their life. Without fear of reprisial. !

        It’s one thing if someone did something wrong and they had evidence.

        But even with evidence the VA Is not part of out judiciary system and HAVE NO busimess acting as if they are.

        Any citizen should be able to defend themselves when accused of something.

        The VA should have to report the disruptive patient to the local police department. So that veteran can have his day in a real court. !

        They won’t do that. Because they know they would loose in a real court.

        And those making the false allegations. Could be held accountable and they would like idiots!

        No one is going to bat. For veterans being falsely accused. When they know deep inside that the disruptive committee is illegal and only harming veterans. !

        Oh. Well it will all come out in the wash. If they ever do laundry !

      • James,
        I had my day in court. The Circuit Court Judge, Cynthia Carlson listened to my story. She instructed me to follow an assistant who filled out some paperwork. The Judge signed a Restraining Order To Prevent Further Abuse and named the CBOB manager, and effectively the VA, as the molester and myself as the protected. He was ordered to cease all contact with me and ordered to not influence others to harass me.

        Two days later a special DBC was formed just for the Reatraining Order. In the FOIA minutes of that meeting they openly acknowledged the RO was the reason for the flag. They sent me a letter claiming two things 1) that I had threatened to murder the entire CBOC staff, and 2) The Restraining Order served on VA disrupted operations.

        I have the letter James that specifically details “my day in court” as their stated motive for flagging me. They gave their middle finger to Judge Carlson and there is absolutely nothing the Judge can do about it. Her power, like everyone elses, ceases to exist when we step across the faiery ring into VA justice.

        These people are rogue. With the full power of e Circuit Court of The State Of Oregon behind me, my day in court earned me complete discontinuation of care and this is according to their own letter saying so. They scare me. They are untouchable.

      • I remember your story. That’s why I reached out to you. Did you ever go back to the judge and tell him/her what they have done To you. !
        If not I think you should. !

        You have more evidence by using other veterans words. You HAVE seen many on here. Use them.

        If I can be of any assistance. Feel free to contact me

        I just wish we had an attorney to steer us in the right path.

        I guess this matter dies not concern other’s. Because it dies not involve them personnely ad of yet.

        They don’t want to get involved.???

        Why. I don’t know

        I’m sure the VA will accuse them one day and they will see what we have been through.

        It seems like the judge would me very upset. That how ruling did not mean squat to the VA management and now they HAVE disrespected his office.

        People like to talk. But when pull comes to shove. They melt back into the wood work. !

        Oh. Well what’s one more veteran being hurt. Nothing. !!!!

        Something’s money can’t buy. !

        Justice

      • James,
        The Department of Justice supplied lawyers to the VA manager. They went to Circuit Court on appeal. On the exact same day I was cleared in a VA police report of any wrong doing, they successfully argued to the Circuit Court that the original Judge had erred in applying Oregon Law to a VA employee. The presiding judge dismissed it saying, “This law was not intended for this kind of abuse.”

        Then, when the Dept Of Justice lawyer started asking for sanctions against me, the Circuit Court Judge looked him dead in the eye and said, “Sir, you will shut up now.” The DOJ attorney shut up.

        One vet, me, standing alone against the VA and the DOJ without medications and with support groups terminated. They did not argue that the abuse never happened James, they simply argued the Court had no jurisdiction. It oissed the judge off clearly but in this regard henhad no more power than you or I.

        So in effect the decision was indeed reviewed, but even open defiance of a court order had no bearing. There can be no judgement against VA unless POTUS agrees to it. The Circuit Court acknowledged this.

        This is a much more serious Constitutional issue than most realize. We have a rogue agency operating openly in that fashion. This is not a light or transient matter. We either accept that we are a Constitutional Republic or we accept VA business as usual. The two cannot exist at the same time.

  7. I think, that all too often, the VA triggers my PTSD. Does this mean I can blame them? Last time at VA,, I had a heart attack and was in surgery within hours of leaving the VA. I have come to the conclusion, that the VA is too cancerous to save. Take it off life support, and let us move on. I have been battling the VA for way too long, and I am sick of it. How can someone not notice 10 out of 80+ cars that are missing? Let alone 30. Question, if I were to steal a car from VA, most likely EVERYBODY would be looking for me and the car. If I am a VA employee, it would be basically, almost, legal? Why didn’t his boss get in trouble for his part….like what the whistle blower law says? Must be nice to choose the law that you want, ignore the laws you choose, and create laws and policy as they fit the need, at the time. I dislike the VA more each day. It’s stressful going to VA.

    • These employees HAVE had decades to make the VA what it is today. Mainly friends Relative’s who would throw their mother under the bus if she blew the whistle.

      And your right. The VA has to be dismantled. Shut down and start a new.

      New employee management can not be former employees of they must be vetted by non VA. !

      No management will be rehired. !!!!

      Strict. Law’s put into pace and if not followed the employees would be charged and given a day in court and they have to pay to obtain s lawyer. Just like everyone else.

      The VA is very stressful to all veterans. They all have heard about what’s going on. !

      If something or if someone does not step up. The middle east will look like a cakewalk and millions of Americans will be killed by those who can’t seem to be able to be honest.

      I’m so ashamed of how the VA. Has turned to the dark side. Money off disabled people and our elected officials are sitting on their hands.

      Or should I say on the phone bumming money from the down and out.

      They sound like wimpe from pop eye

      If You give me a ? today. I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday. But Tuesday never seems to come.

    • Amazing. How many people can see the VA Is broken and ripe with disloyal employees.

      More amazing is our elected officials. Keep letting them off the hook.

      Some employees only have to say. I plead the 5th. End of story. !

      And then get promoted. Nice job you said I plead the 5th just like we taught you.

      How go back and continue what you were doing. If anyone does not like it. Fire them. The rest will get the message. !

  8. CA #1 state for car thieves, these vehicles are stripped &/or already over the border into Mexico. Someone in those buildings put the word out this place is easy to loot. My son’s Del Sol was stripped in our driveway within a week of being discharged from the Army. The Community Service Officer who was sent to take the report would not even lift fingerprints – “there is no budget for that she said”

    Since you have to substantiate retaliation after a whistle blow, get yourself a spy body camera & wear it, maybe a nice smiley face one.

    There’s so much more to this VA it is sickening: “The land was deeded to the United States in 1888 for the specific purpose of providing a home for disabled veterans. VA has eliminated permanent housing? & leases portions of the property to private companies, ie rental car business & Sodexho Marriott for a laundry facility etc… The VA does not publicly disclosed how much it is being paid which cover almost 30 percent of the 387-acre campus, or where the money from leasing is going. This is from 2011.

    Read the 72 pg complaint on this facility here @ https://www.aclusocal.org/wp-content/uploads/downloads/89/194860.pdf

    Also In 2008, Congressman Bob Filner, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, appeared on National television & explained that the VA was not prepared for the aftermath of the war. “When the President says, ‘Support troops, support the troops,’ unfortunately, when they come home many of them are on their own. We’ve had incidents, for example, of PTSD team leaders telling their people, ‘Stop diagnosing PTSD. We can’t afford it. It costs too much. Diagnose something else.’ That is a crime & that’s been committed by our own VA.” @ http://www.citywatchla.com/index.php/archive/1791-law-suit-claim-west-la-va-abandons-homeless-vets

    • @NiteWish
      I’ve read many articles on that VA property out in West L.A.!
      I believe that property was basically given over to the VA by McDuck in 2015 or 2014!
      I also believe he was told he was in violation of what was handed down in a federal court decision!
      The vets out in West L.A. are being fucked just like the rest of the country!

  9. This is just stunning on so many levels. Yes questions should be asked about Salazars firing, but how the hell does any federal agency lose track of 30 vehicles? How the hell does GSA not notice 10 fleet cards having inappropriate charges?

    Each of those vehicles should have a pile of paperwork following them before the thieves at the VA ever get them. Same with a fleet card. What paperwork was falsified for those 30 vehicles? For the fleet cards? Where is the GSA fleet manager?

    All of these questions should be answered before congess since all of these vehicles should have been in their inventory and should have been accounted for EVERY YEAR! This is much the same as the $20 million spent on VA “art”. Is that art on their inventory and accounted for every year? Or is it now at someone’s house next to some car?

    And to think a supervisor only gets a letter of reprimand being so eFing incompetent that he loses 30 vehicles.

    This reminds me of the scam pulled years ago where some guy at Ft. McCoy was caught stealing surplus military vehicles, then selling them to private collectors, VFW halls, etc. He falsified paperwork and drove them right out the front gate.

    Finally, this WPEA crap signed by Obama seems like a circular firing squad. If someone’s job description requires they report wrong doing, then they are fired for reporting it, why are they being fired for doing their job?

    Imagine the number of VA managers looking the other way or not doing their jobs allowing this blatant theft to occur. Something you would think Missal would investigate.

    Oh to be an investigative journalist filing FOIA requests for records…which are likely non-existent or now shredded.

    • Remember the magic words

      I PLEAD THE 5th. !

      Settled done !

      A blind man. Can see right through their decept. Too bad our elected officials seems to be deft too.

    • Spot-On!

      ALL gov’t vehicles have tons of paperwork that even on a daily driving/use period, inspection of the user and documentation of any issues, and then there’s just the gasoline expenses as well then annual or whatever type of inventory would be required…a crapload of paperwork at the peon level traveling up to meat grinder’s south side.
      Maybe being off a vehicle plus/minus is another thing but for 30…and like RedTurtle said earlier, it’s likely to be missing a zero in that actual number because why the hell such a rounded even number?
      How about the ongoing Dispute in LA and the VA with that land that was to be used for homeless vets and housing that NiteWish brought-up here a few minutes ago? I thought our Peace Prize Winning President ordered the VA to use that land only for Vets as intended or am I only remembering a dream of accountability honored that is still an ongoing nightmare?

      What’s really going on if the VA is so willing to admit that they even have missing vehicles and charge/fleet cards. What else is missing? Anything from Radiology? We are still in active wars!!

      I also thought this new VA OIG came into the scene skipping with butterflies and a bluebird on his shoulder singing about accountability…blah….blah…nothing zippidy-doo-dah here at all. 🙂

  10. I need to “vent” something.
    It concerns an article from “military.com” I received today. Maybe y’all have seen it, maybe not.
    The title of it was “The Pentagon wants One Trillion dollars!”

    Folks, I have a hard time digesting one billion dollars. I can’t even comprehend ONE TRILLION DOLLARS!
    Especially since our DOD, with POTUS’ blessings, is giving billions of dollars worth of military war machines, Abrams tanks etc., to Saudi Arabia!
    Our leadership had gone completely rogue. Corruption is rampant in all government agencies!

    Well, that’s my “vent” for now!

    • Elf- What I DO know is that some of the pretty major command military bases here in USA that were closed under Pres. Clinton have all been ramping-up again…that’s just Stateside but significant enough to all the sudden have higher petrol costs and things like new toys.

      Things in the South China Sea are actually more dire than what we are being fed. Kind of reminds one how WW2 was spread across the globe….hmmm. Then there’s also the $400 Million cash just given to our enemies and you cannot tell me this is not going to fund the very war against the free world/USA troops? Patterns. They are disturbing and probably why most Americans are happily with their heads in the sand. Same with all with hands in the cookie jar. Rant Out.

  11. Off-topic. There is a news article at the nbcnewyork web site about 22 dogs being rescued from an SUV in the Bronx.
    The headline is, 22 Dogs Living in SUV With Veteran Rescued in the Bronx.
    There are two mentions of the veteran, 1 is that the 22 dogs were living in a Mercedes with a veteran thought to be mentally ill, and the other at the end of the story saying she, the veteran, likely won’t face charges.
    All of the rest of the story is about rescuing the dog and 21 puppies, which organizations are taking them, and that the temperature was hot.
    Nothing else about the veteran was mentioned.

    Our country is truly fucked.

    • Yeah, never mind the REASON that Veteran was having to live in her SUV…no, the puppies are too warm and fuzzy a story. That’s messed-up. Why not give that Vet a job at the local animal rescue or something or a roof over head and ????

      Yes, we are so screwed as a country if our priorities are on how many social media metrics can be accumulated rather than the Human Condition and those that exploit it.

      Rant Out.

    • last part is correct. They did not mention it. Put it shows the dedication VETERANS have towards others. Even If their animal’s.

      A dog us a loyal friend. ! Man

      not so much !

      • I agree, James but I must add cats to the mix. I cannot have dogs where I live but I have had one very smart and helpful cat for 9 years now. Not so much my pet, he owns me. 🙂 Helps keep me grounded as well.

      • @namnibor I agree about cats. Mine is not a cat that cuddles but when I’m having nitemares she will wake me up & let me stroke her until I’ve calmed. If I raise my voice to get a point across she’s immediately standing between us. Those dogs look to me to be Chihuahua’s & other small breeds –Not puppies to melt hearts for them & that veteran must be in distress having them taken from her. Where is she now?

  12. [email protected]#$ Congressman Bob Filner. wrote him about my VA/VBA plight many times over some years. like the rest of letters written to Congress people & WH, nada done. got one of those pretty boilerplate template notes Congressional offices reply with.

    there is probably a bit of truth to the “… VA was not prepared…” but when have any of us veterans seen the VA is prepared? go back 50 years and tell us all when VA was prepared.

    VA certainly has asked for mo’ money every year due to “not prepared” have they not? did Congress give em some mo’ money?

    if it’s true only POTUS can do anything about VA, why hasn’t Trump hammered on him and hillary about this and their failed in actions to turn VA/VBA around for veterans?

    the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics (2016) lists 19.4 million veterans. have no idea what % of these make use of the VA, but that is a LARGE voting block. why hasn’t Trump honed in on obama & hillary for their dismal portrayal of veterans’ issues regarding VA/VBA and the years of neg reports and a do nothing Congress?

    i hears him say some things about it, mainly the wait lists, but come on, wait lists are just the tip of the corrupt iceberg.

    i’ll repeat, [email protected]#$ Congressman Bob Filner!!

    • Trump has said it many times. The VETERANS are getting:÷/÷:!;

      And they deserve so much better. !

      We’ve heard this time and time and time again and were still waiting for something positive. !
      Guess. We have to just keep dreaming. I guess

  13. So now every employee needs to wear the new body cameras cops wear, because when they do step up to do the right thing the wrong things happen. But it would be better if everything is video taped as far as I’m concerned. Because if you think it’s bad what employees go through when reporting issues, you should feel what some of us Vets go through after filing on employees. I’ve been fighting this VA in Prescott, AZ. For needed device for a year and a half. Now I have a $600,000.00 claim against them and just this week received approval from OIG after sending proof of retaliation here. They are going to investigate them for four topics. Maybe I’ll get my equipment I need. Especially since I have 3 seperate Letters of Medical Neccessity from 3 seperate doctors and still getting denied.

  14. We will all bedead and gone and the VA will still be a behemoth that is run by AFGE and corrupt officials . Nothing new here. The new VA is the old VA .

  15. Come on every body this is the VA we are talking about.

    The 30 cars never really existed except on paper.

    No doubt the money to purchase 30 cars is gone, but do you really think the VA ever received them. No Fricken way.

    After all this is the VA we are talking about and of course the money disappeared and no doubt there was paper work filed that claimed the money was spent on 30 cars but this is the VA. So no cars were ever really purchased just a bunch of bogus paperwork filed to cover up the theft of the money.

    • @Seymore,
      That sure is another hypothesis! In reality, it actually makes more sense!

      On the other hand, “Theft is Theft”! There’s no other way around it.

      • Two problems cover up and Retalation. Now they ruined the employees life.

        now many will say anything when they see something wrong. They just showed other employees

        See what happens to people who do the right thing. Where was the union.?

        To help this guy. Slam dunk case for the union. Its clear it was pure and simple Retalation. !

        Union. In bed with management !

  16. 08/13/2016

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    “According to the Office of Special Counsel, ‘Afterwards, that manager changed Mr. Salazar’s performance standards and later recommended his termination.’ He was fired in 2015 and filed a whistleblower complaint.”

    Were the Lawyers not feeding the VA executives bad info back in 2014, and throughout this whole scandal?

    Who are the lawyers and the firms they work for?

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

  17. I am disappointed. Tony was a hard working person who I worked closely with and was as competent of an employee as I had seen in my 12 years in the VA system. However, I left GLA as Chief of Police due to ethical issues so this does not surprise me.
    Tony if you are reading this reach out to me [email protected]

    • Did you know he was in trouble, what did you do ? You need to tell someone who has power congress or senator someone, its never to late to help !

      tell us your story about what you have seen, we all share our horror stories

  18. The missing cars , need to be traced to find out who signed the sale of each car , fire the son of a bitch who signed the paper work and press charges ,

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