IG just confirmed what everyone else already knew, that local West LA VA management thinks their obligations to homeless veterans are a complete joke.
Despite clear instruction in how the agency uses land gifted to the agency long ago, those same leaders are happy to ignore common business practices to protect the resources intended to serve homeless vets. Can you imagine getting your job wrong 60 percent of the time? Somehow, that level of failure always results in a promotion for VA leaders.
Again, no accountability for the top shelf executives.
The leases include a dog park, a parrot sanctuary, a private school, and other facilities that have little or nothing to do with veterans or the mission of VA.
From Los Angeles Times –> More than 60% of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ land-use agreements on its West Los Angeles campus are illegal or improper, a federal audit found, including leases for a Los Angeles city dog park and ballfields, Red Cross offices, a Shakespeare festival, a parrot sanctuary and the private Brentwood School.
Although the VA is making progress on its building plans, “it will not meet its initial milestone,” the inspector general said in the report, adding that environmental review could push the goal of housing homeless veterans even further into the future. The audit also faulted the VA for failing to include veterans in oversight of the campus project.
“In the Iraq War, the government delivered $12 billion in cash on pallets in cargo planes,” said retired law professor Gary Blasi, who was involved in the litigation, “but the VA is still prioritizing to renovate three buildings for housing for veterans.”
But in a review of 40 land-use agreements, the audit found that 11 other leases either violated federal law or the draft master plan for the campus. Among those tenants were the 1887 Fund, which raises money for renovation of the Wadsworth Chapel and four other historic buildings; the Barrington parking lots; Breitburn slant drilling operations; and the Westside Breakers youth soccer.
“The investigation pointed out things we’ve been saying for years: UCLA had a sweetheart lease, the dog park lease is absurd on its face,” said former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver, who long lobbied for veteran housing on the property. “But what’s important is where’s the frigging housing?”
But it disputed the inspector general’s condemnation of its deal with the Brentwood School, which agreed to pay $850,000 in annual rent and provide in-kind services worth $918,000. The services included access for 67 veterans to the Brentwood School’s athletic facilities and summer school scholarships for veterans’ children.
The audit also found that lease rates the VA renegotiated with the city of L.A.’s Barrington Park ballfields and dog park, UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium and the Brentwood School athletic complex were lower than the appraised rental values — of $2.7 million each for UCLA and the Brentwood School and $2 million for the city.