VA OIG: Most Leases At West Los Angeles VA Campus Illegal
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.
To all veterans ! Ben, as many of you know I have been fighting the VA concerning the VA Disruptive committee.
This began in 2004. I wanted to find an attorney to bring a Class action lawsuit against the VA concerning the VA Disruptive committee.
I have spoken with an attorney today a Chistopher Frederico. Mr Frederico advised me that their office is prepared to bring a Class action lawsuit against the VA.
In order to do this, I, we need to find veterans or veteran who, within the last year been accused and punished by the VA for disruptive behavior.
One of the main thing’s that has to have happened is a veteran who has been accused and was not offered a hearing or disputed the allegations and was denied any dispute resolution.
In my case I was falsely accused and punished and the Denver VA never offered any dispute avenue.
I may not be able to bring the class action lawsuit against the VA myself.
But if we can find 1 one or more veterans who have been falsely accused and punished and the VA has no evidence backing up their allegations.
Then we can finely stop other veterans from being falsely accused.
If you know someone who has been falsely accused and punished within the last year please contact Mr Christopher Frederico Berry law firm at 402-466-8444.
It may be to late for me, but I as many of you know veterans are being punished and the VA has stripped away all of the veterans civil, human and constitutional rights away from the veterans to due process of law.
Again this attorney, is very interested in helping veterans concerning the Disruptive committee.
It would be helpful if the rest of us know if they have been falsely accused and punished.
Post on this site if and when someone is willing to stand up for other veterans.
We are our brother’s keeper !
Here is our chance to fight back !
I know you veterans are pretty sharp and now is the time to take action.
Are you with me, to stop the VA from punishing anyone. How many veterans have been accused and punished and then committed suicide !
One is too many !
Maybe our first and last chance to help our brother’s and sister’s.
And it just keeps on going and going and going. I’m just shocked by the continuous white-collar crime that is happening everyday within our government. I’m shocked by my naivity thinking everyone’s on board and wants to do their best for the greater good of all. Hmmmm, I’m filled with saddness and confusion due to this never ending cycle of corruption. I’m going to have to take a long walk out in nature today just to lift my spirits. Mismanaging funds for the homeless, haven’t these veterans sacrificed and struggled enough?
If us Veterans committed any kinds of criminals acts that defrauded the government, we would face some serious jail time.
When will these people begin their jail sentences?
Why is no-one pushing for equal justice under the law?
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. The Veterans funds have been used in frivolous ways for decades. I see it everyday with people that feel as though they are more entitled to Veterans funds than the Veterans themselves. I think this administration is finally realizing this and is making moves to eliminate the problem.
We can only hope, John!
I do believe that they are on the right track.
Regarding WLA, it is good to see that Krause finally writes about it.
I cut and paste these thoughts to the federal Oversight Board that is really the only remaining hope, within the “system”, to take control back for Veterans:
Federal Oversight Board Members,
On the heels of the article written by Los Angeles Times reporter Gale Holland and the “Shameful Past” article that appeared online and the OIG “non-compliant” Report that proves that non-veteran, non-profit and for-profit entities that are using this land do not have the Veteran at heart.
Do the remaining members of the Oversight Board have the Veteran at heart?
If you did you would be framing all operations on this gift-land strictly within the terms, conditions, spirit and intent of the Act of 1887 and the Deeds of 1888, both of them.
If you did you would be telling Secretary of VA that the land is not open to negotiation, that its specific perpetuity prohibits bureaucrats, DVA, Veterans, non-veterans, politicians and the public from using the land for any purpose other than is specified in the deeds of 1888.
These non-veteran legal entities already have a purpose and the specific purpose of each one is not to care for Veterans. Two are to teach students, one is to play baseball, others are for their own non-profit intentions and big oil, its loyalty is to its shareholders.
Clearly, the purpose and intentions of these interlopers is contrary to the terms, conditions, spirit and intent of the original and “permanent” intention of this gift-land.
While this may sound like a broken record to you so does the utter folly of the development plans of this fraud settlement plan recited at every meeting.
Out of desperation, a few of you jump at the opportunity to justify your appointments by approving or slightly modifying something that the bureaucrats have already negotiated with non-veterans. Others saw the writing on the wall and chose to not waste their time.
A bus station does not belong on this land. There will be 100 times the university student population that uses it more than the Veteran. Place it at that campus.
A triple A university baseball stadium does not belong on this land. The small baseball fields that existed before were enough for a disabled Veteran population to get recreation out of. Place it at that campus.
A very exclusive and private school does not belong on this land. Place it on the private golf course that is just down the road.
The photo ops of doing something for Veterans is fake news. The truth is that using every square inch of the land for disabled Veterans, as intended, would be of greater service than all the bag lunches and Christmas gifts for in-bound patients.
Veterans belong on this land and where there is not Veteran shelter there must be services that are 100% direct-benefit to disabled Veterans belong on this land. Nothing else, clear and simple. Frame it within the deeds.
The Director of the settlement plan has been placed in a very hard position because she is supposed to negotiate with entities that do not have a purpose for being here. She may wind up leaving, like the members of the Board that have left, citing the uselessness of the Board if VA will not listen to good reason.
We bring you the good reason.
We have brought you and we will continue to bring you evidence that this land is not up for negotiation, it has a permanent and specific purpose. The West Los Angeles Leasing Act has only resulted in fueling the flawed plan and disguising the manipulation that allows non-veteran entities can stay on the land for 75 years.
And, the manipulation works hand in hand with the news releases that make it appear as if the flawed settlement plan is working. It is not if the non-veteran entities are on the land.
Again, we will state it for the record, the “exit strategy” for these interlopers must be placed on your agenda.
Years before day-one of the public input at these meetings a real network, composed of one AMVETS Post and stalwart grassroots Veteran advocates from the intersection of Wilshire and San Vicente to Rochester, New York, New Hampshire, Austin, Texas and North Carolina were the only advocates to raise these points that amount to land-grab.
It is this network that is advancing that the “larger Veteran demographic”, its input and contributions, were systematically compromised and excluded throughout in the entire settlement plan design and development process.
Shame on any so-called veteran representative who says that it was a fair process because it was not.
That, however, did not deter advocates from telling the truth about the poor land-use policy that has excluded Veterans to anyone and everyone who would listen.
We can tell you that it was not the advocate group that is resident in the settlement plan, that group did not exist when local Veterans were attempting to find the responsible and accountable authority through Congressman Waxman and Senator Feinstein.
You may say that there are authorities. Yes, they are the bureaucrats that play the peanut in the shell game and take advantage of your quarterly meeting schedule. The negotiate, approve and build between your meetings and when you do meet you are asked to approve it for the record. If you ask about it at the next meet, too late.
We submit that running this VA the “right way” would have been to create the right representation at the offset. Bring differing opinions to the same table. As it exists today, those who do not agree with what is being done are still on the outside and those who go with the flow are at the table.
That is not the kind of mind-set that would have avoided all the bad press and double-talk today because honest debate would have framed all operations in proper perspective.
If that makeup existed back then, when VA was found guilty of 9 “void” leases and the Special Assistant to Secretary McDonald started the design of the flawed settlement plan the Leasing Act would have been defeated.
We now are forced to come to your Oversight Board meetings and hope that you are listening to the voiceless, hope that you are not rubber-stamping what the bureaucrats are telling you to do.
Q. Who is it that is telling the bureaucrats what to do?
A. BWS, UCLA, Westwood and Brentwood Community Councils.
While they do have a right to mitigate open space adjacent to their communities, they do not have the right to influence land-use policy to the point that it contradicts the specificity and permanency of the original Act and Deeds.
Allowing that demonstrates the disingenuous operation that DVA and it’s band of cohorts really are.
How ironic that this gift-land was called the “crown jewel” of America’s moral obligation to Veterans by Ron Olson, the non-veteran federal attorney picked by Secretary McDonald to outline the guiding principles of the settlement plan. Did you know that he lives in the area and he specializes in federal land-use policy?
Hey Ben, you may want to follow up on the beachfront property that was deeded the same day by the same benefactors for the same recipients, disabled Veterans.
Sempre Fi…..to saving the “HOME”
Yea, they beat up and kill veterans as well and get away with it… don’t listen to the VSO’s, privatize VHA…
The Veterans Administration started in 1930 and there has not been many changes to the system since that time. No one person can fix the V.A. system regardless who is in charge of the agency. No president, no senator, V.A. secretary, Office of Inspector General, etc,etc.; The OIG is similar to union stewards who job is to see if the agency is following proper protocols. The real problem with the V.A. lies with the United States Congress. There are 100 U.S. senators and only a hand full of them support veterans issues but the majority of them do not or will not support the veterans community so there my fellow veterans lies the major problem with the V.A. This problem can never be resolved until a majority of the senators get on board and not just a small minority that currently do. V.A. management knows this and will continue to behave the way they do with no resolve
About Operation “Q”
I believe Former Sec. of VA McDonald had something to do with reversing a federal courts decision over the West Los Angeles VA property.
Also, what do you think about the commenter “ROSIE”?
For a few times now, it seems like all she/he/it has done, is come on and tried to defend criminal acts committed against veterans by VA upper management!
At least, no one is falling for her/his/its line of bullshit!
When criminal acts, committed against vets, are going unpunished something is terribly wrong!
Rosie is absolutely clear in her disdain for the VA. She CAN get a wee persnickety at times, no doubt. But she is solid, honest, and I highly value her counsel.
In a departure from my normal procedure this morning, I read the article, all associated links, and my fellow veterans comments – – – before commenting. Usually I just read the articles and links before making my initial comment. Then I read what the rest of my brothers and sisters have to say about the topic at hand.
A tragic and troubled ongoing story of the ‘VA System’ Leadership at its finest! What a fine example of mismanagement, miscommunication, untruthfulness, unjust treatment of veterans, and to top it all off – – – let us ticket and/or arrest a man whose only ‘crime’ was that he stood up for his country at a time when it was quite unpopular to do so . . .
This of course, is only the prelude. We must add to it the VA giving the green light to using this land for purposes other than what it was intended for – – – to line the pockets of contractors, officials, etc. – – – rather than doing what they were supposed to be doing on that land. Constructing housing for Homeless Veterans.
THIS is before we get to the year’s long cover-up, and obfuscation of the investigation by those who would see this land properly used for its’ original intent. To benefit Homeless Veterans.
Balderdash and Bullshit! For the amount of money funneled through this place over the last ten years, ten thousand homeless veterans should have been able to be properly housed rather than just fifty-four.
It is way past time for some real leadership at the VA. Leadership that speaks truth publicly about how bad things have really gotten. Leadership that develops solutions to take better care of ALL our nations warriors.
Leadership that recognizes that when they are doing a good job – – – it will be veterans singing their praises, rather than the VA needing a PR Agency to put out “Fluff Pieces” to mislead America and her citizens about what a stellar job they are doing.
They are not. In fact, they are doing a very piss-poor job.
The VA has a first-world budget which they use to provide veterans less than third-world medical care and benefits. Current VA leadership has their Brain Housing Group the size of mice and their Heart no bigger.
It is about FIFTEEN YEARS PAST TIME TO FIX THE DAMN BROKEN VA:
1. IMMEDIATELY recognize the problems inherent in the VA are SYSTEM-WIDE, not just limited to a few locations.
2. Fire all the Lazy No Good Workers. Fire EVERY single AFGE/SES Employee.
3. Sell off all the VA facilities. Alternatively, they may be converted into military barracks-style housing for homeless veterans. These will be run with military-style rules to promote good order and discipline.
4. Issue all veterans a card that allows them to choose their own doctors within their community that they can TRUST.
5. The United States Government will PAY those doctors promptly (Within 45 days) for the care they provide veterans.
6. ELIMINATE the “Federal Protection” Umbrella for incompetent QUACKS that the VA sends to other states to practice other than their own. Going to practice in XX state? You need to be LICENSED in XX state.
7. Any claim a veteran submits to the VBA that requires more than 90 days to adjudicate, is automatically found to be in favor of the veteran. Should a veteran file a false claim to scam the system, the VA will have to prove in civil court that the claim was falsely submitted.
For filing a false claim, the veteran will be subject to ALL of the following:
(A). The claim shall be denied. If the veteran has received any form of benefits because of the false claim they will be required to fully repay the benefits at cost.
(B). The veteran will be banned from all VA facilities for the remainder of their life.
(C). The veteran will lose any benefits they originally have or had, and will not be allowed to file for further benefits.
8. All veterans will be allowed to seek/retain the services of a Veterans Rights Attorney from their first initial contact with the VA. This will help to protect the legal rights of veterans against corrupt and incompetent VA employees.
9. No AFGE, nor any other Labor Union business will be allowed to take place in any Federal Workplace. Conducting Union Business during working hours will be STRICTLY PROHIBITED and will be STRICTLY ENFORCED. Should any government employee be found violating this provision, it will result in IMMEDIATE LIFETIME DISMISSAL FROM ANY/ALL STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTAL EMPLOYMENT.
In this case the word LIFETIME shall be construed as meaning “Ten years after you are deceased”.
10. Attorneys for appeal will be retained at the former employee’s PERSONAL expense. U. S. Taxpayer’s will not be subject to payment of legal bills for incompetent or dishonest personnel with regards to Governmental Employment.
You have my contact information Mr. President. Call me anytime. I have a lot of ideas/solutions to help this nation improve the services provided to my fellow veterans.
The ones promised, but never delivered upon. Veterans have been waiting for over fifty years for the fulfillment of those promises. I will not hesitate to speak up at all.
For my fellow veterans who have been ill-served by this DERAILED CLUSTERFUCK of an AWFUL TRAIN WRECK CALLED THE VA over the years:
Our battles overseas were far less agonizing than our war here at home. Never Cruel or Cowardly. Never Give Up. Never Give In. We are on the Righteous path.
POTUS Reagan broke up PATCO in the ’80’s. Time for POTUS Trump to break up the AFGE.
Most of our current Congress Critters do NOT have Veterans Interests, or that of the United States at heart. Perhaps their replacements will. VOTE OUT all these WORTHLESS BITCHES and BASTARDS.
Give their replacement’s one term to take care of Veterans who put aside their own personal lives to answer this nation’s call when she needed them. Many of those Veterans suffer the remainder of their lives for doing what most of their countrymen had not the courage to do.
If they cannot MUSTER THE STONES to do it properly – – – vote their worthless asses out as well. Party should NOT MATTER. What SHOULD MATTER is their VOTING RECORDS ON VETERANS ISSUES.
Rhetoric is cheap. Congressional Voting Records on veterans’ issues speak louder than words.
NO Combat Veteran should be surprised when the next McVeigh, Congressional Baseball Team, or Las Vegas Sniper Incident occurs. Bound to happen. Just a matter of time . . .
We have now reached the next accelerative phase of our country falling apart. Country before Party. Principles before Personalities. Always.
Want to REALLY fix the VA? The next SecVA needs to be a former Enlisted Man brought in from the general veteran population with a few serious axes to grind against the VA and the AFGE, with zero previous governmental civilian service.
Apparently, Former Flag Officers and SES appointed Civilians can’t cut the mustard . . .
Maybe a SINCERELY MOTIVATED Gunnery Sergeant or Chief Petty Officer CAN.
Why is the FBI or our justice department making arrests. Abuse of power. Racketeering !
This just proves the mafia style ripoff of veterans money. Genocide I thought was against the law.
Veterans are in real danger !
Assuming all have read the “chosen bits” that this particular writer has posted of the LA Times article, allow me to share with you only those missing parts.
[…] “In a groundbreaking 2016 legal settlement, the VA promised to open the agency’s long-contested campus to housing as part of a broader campaign to end the county’s long reign as the nation’s homeless veterans capital.
A single building was renovated in 2017 and currently houses 54 veterans. No new construction has been green-lighted or funded, either by the Obama or Trump administrations, although two other building rehabs have advanced in the planning process. They will be funded with the city’s voter-approved bonds from Proposition HHH, not federal funds.”…
[…] “The VA also agreed to end commercial leases on the 388-acre property that did not substantially benefit ex-service members. A handful of leases were terminated, the VA said in a September status report.”…
[…] “Fourteen other renters were operating under expired contracts or had no documented agreements, the audit found.”…
[…] “In response to the audit, the VA agreed to renegotiate or terminate land-use agreements with the city of L.A., the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, the Westside soccer club and the parrot sanctuary.”…
[…] “The inspector general said the in-kind compensation was legally dubious and found that neither the Brentwood School nor the VA provided adequate documentation of its benefits.”…
…and to end with… “Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) said he was working with the VA and veterans groups to make sure campus development “is collaborative and effective.”
“There’s an urgent need to guarantee more veterans facing homelessness have housing,” Lieu said in an email.”
In my opinion, that is too much missing information for the many rational and thinking readers to make an informed comment contribution to this forum.
It leaves me to wonder what is the motive behind allowing this departure from what has been known as, “Ben’s World!”.
I apologize if I have left you or anyone confused about the intent of any of my posts. Let me clarify a few things. This is the same ROSIE that has interacted with you (and others) for the past several months on this blog.
Rest assured, I have great disgust towards any person/division of the VA/AFGE, and etc., regarding the many wrongs that have been done toward any and all of us! Have no doubt, it is quite maddening to realize the multitude of scams some VA employee’s have pulled and been promoted for doing and then gotten away with all of it.
Yesterday, I explained my post when someone felt I’d missed the point of that article. In my post today, I wanted to point out what I perceive as a “cherry picked bias” of points gleaned from the linked article and then written by today’s author. I just plain and simple do not think Ben wrote either yesterday’s or today’s articles.
In my view, many readers of Ben’s blog are fully capable of evaluating complete articles, and bringing valuable insight for us to ponder as we digest each others posts. I stand by my point of view, that it is a disservice to the readers, in being provided only the “cherry picked” bits of today’s linked article, irrespective of the points of view of today’s blog author. If one has the time to individually read all three pieces (the posted article, my post, and the linked article) then my intent may make better sense.
From what you’ve written, it seems as though, you’re trying to nit-pick what the author was saying.
Here’s something to consider;
The VA upper management at West Los Angeles is never going to give up taking from veterans and taxpayers! Until they’re stopped! “Judicial Watch’s” entry, a few years ago, made fools out of the upper management of VA in West Los Angeles!
“Seymore Klearly’s” comments explain that in great detail!
Why do you think there has been a bitter fight between veterans and the VA since 2008!
Lastly: Some of us on here have been following this FUBAR long before your entries!
Other than that, apology (partially) accepted!
You might want to read what “VAL-OR, USA Project Manager” had to say below!
Maybe you are correct in thinking I’m nit picking!
But, I’d rather not be presented with selective bits and pieces as I’ve stated earlier. And you are also correct in that I’ve only posted during this year, but I have been a silent reader of Ben’s blog for many years!
Thanx! I have read that post as well as all of the others!
Just as commenter “VAL-OR, USA Project Manager” has eloquently pointed out, the VA upper management of West Los Angeles, and surrounding areas, is in complete violation/non-compliance with laws written OVER ONE CENTURY AGO – exactly 130 years ago!
We Veterans on here, along with other groups have said the same thing!
Those involved in the criminal acts should have been arrested, tried and convicted! NOTHING MORE – NOTHING LESS!
Until that occurs, veterans and Taxpayers will suffer MORE at the hands of unscrupulous people!
They have absolutely no defense!
Why do you persist howling at a New Moon?
My posts are not blasting the subject of the author’s posted article.
All of the deeded property is not being used as the deed intended.
It is wrong, it is a disgrace, and it is all reprehensible.
How many more of these must I state for you to drop that bone?
We are on the same side. Period.
Follow the money and it will lead right to the VA Management Assholes whose pockets are getting fat from kickbacks for illegal leases…then follow that trail of $$$ to the see-nothing, do-nothing asshole VSO’s that turn a brown-eye….then follow that trail of money to the Congress Critters on Veterans Committees and it will lead to more padded wallets in overly padded brown-eyed assholes.
The assholes ALL KNOW these leases and misuse of land intended to HOUSE HOMELESS VETERANS IS ILLEGAL…not an oil well, dry cleaners….and I’m sure there’s a gaggle of lawyers for the VA that see that land as PRIME $$$$$$ to sell or lease to hollyweird elite.
The VA requires a massive enema and Wilkie…DO YOUR FUCKING JOB AND RID THE VA OF THESE ASSHOLE PARASITEs!! (if you don’t, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM, and will also be massive enema backwash with the rest)
Did the VAOIG finally cease masturbating and awoke to Rome Burning or this only to prop-up some Congress Critter for re-erection time approaching?
In a fucking mood lately.
The Phx va can’t do the easy things that a 5 year old could clean there room better then are incompetent top heavy EMS bosses and incompetent EOC i been showing off the real Phx va for over a year now and nothing happens just wasting millions of taxpayers money at the Phx va and billions of taxpayers money every year on incompetent EOC and incompetent top heavy EMS workers call 602-277-5551 ext 6600 incompetent top heavy EMS ext 6444 is the incompetent asst Director
Fed Audit Exposes Corruption in Illegal VA Land Sharing Deals at LA Facility
Judicial Watch Corruption Chronicles
OCTOBER 02, 2018
“In a huge victory for military vets fighting the illegal use of a Los Angeles Veterans Affairs (VA) facility, a federal audit exposes rampant fraud and corruption involving the illicit land sharing agreements made by crooked VA officials. Judicial Watch launched an investigation into the deals and has two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests pending. A third FOIA request for additional records was recently filed by Judicial Watch after gathering new details pertinent to the case. Conducted by the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG), the investigation vindicates vets embroiled in a long and nasty fight against the abuse and misappropriation of VA property.
For nearly a decade a group called the Old Veterans Guard has filed complaints against rampant corruption at the Los Angeles VA for misusing VA property. The 338-acre parcel in West L.A., which includes the National Veterans Park and Veterans Home, was deeded to the federal government in 1888 for the specific purpose of caring for disabled veterans. Instead, the property is also used for many unrelated causes. Among them is a stadium for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) baseball team, an athletic complex for a nearby private high school, laundry facilities for a local hotel, storage and maintenance of production sets for 20th Century Fox Television, the Brentwood Theatre, soccer practice and match fields for a private girls’ soccer club, a dog park, and a farmer’s market. The new VA OIG report lists many others, including a parrot sanctuary, two parking lots spanning 3.9 acres and oil drilling.
Members of the Old Veterans Guard say federal authorities retaliated against them for denouncing the fraudulent use of the facility by sending VA police to harass and intimidate them at weekly rallies. Since 2008 the group has assembled at the “Great Lawn Gate” that marks the entrance to the L.A. National Veterans Park to protest the VA’s failure to make full use of the property to benefit veterans, particularly those who are homeless. Among the group leaders is Robert Rosebrock, an elderly Army vet who got criminally charged for posting a pair of four-by-six-inch American Flags on the outside fence on Memorial Day in 2016. Judicial Watch represented Rosebrock in the federal case, which was tried in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Last year, the court ruled that Rosebrock was not guilty of violating federal law for displaying the flags above the VA fence. Rosebrock’s absurd case was filed during the Obama administration, but the Trump Department of Justice (DOJ) moved forward with it.
Earlier this year an official at the same L.A. VA facility where Rosebrock got prosecuted for posting American Flags got charged for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from a vendor that defrauded the VA out of millions. While the feds went on a witch hunt against the 75-year-old vet for affixing Old Glory at a site honoring those who served their country, the VA director was committing the real crime. In January the corrupt VA official, Ralph Tillman, agreed to plead guilty to two felony offenses for taking over a quarter of a million dollars in bribes from a parking lot operator at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System in southern California.
As part of its investigation, the VA OIG reviewed 40 land use agreements and determined that 11 did not comply with the law. Additionally, the VA watchdog found that 14 entities unaffiliated with the VA were operating on the West L.A. campus with either an expired or no documented agreement. “The OIG determined these noncompliant arrangements resulted from insufficient veteran input on land use, unclear VA policies on what constituted appropriate use of “out leases” and revocable licenses, and incomplete capital asset inventory land use agreement records maintained by GLAHS (Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System),” the report states. The VA watchdog directs the agency to implement a plan that complies with federal laws and create a process to obtain input form the veteran community on land use. The Old Veterans Guard has been fighting for this for a decade.”
More At: https://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2018/10/fed-audit-exposes-corruption-in-illegal-va-land-sharing-agreements-at-la-facility/
Also More At VAOIG Audit: https://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-18-00474-300.pdf
Also an interesting read on the subject from Judicial Watch.
“VA Pays Big Bucks to Reimburse Business for Ending Illegal Contracts at L.A. Facility”
FEBRUARY 27, 2018
“The Los Angeles Veterans Affairs (VA) facility that illegally leased out chunks of its huge parcel to private businesses paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to reimburse some for terminating the unlawful agreements, records obtained by Judicial Watch show. It marks the latest in a series of scandals to rock the sprawling southern California VA campus forced by a lawsuit to use the land for its intended purpose of helping vets, especially those who are homeless.
The 338-acre parcel in West Los Angeles, which includes the National Veterans Park and Veterans Home, was deeded to the federal government in 1888 for the specific purpose of caring for disabled veterans. Thousands of disabled veterans once lived on the property, which also had churches, theaters, a library and post office. In the 1960s and 1970s the VA quietly closed the facilities, according to the American Legion, and ousted mentally disabled veterans. In recent years, the property has been used for many causes unrelated to veterans. Among them is a stadium for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) baseball team, an athletic complex for a nearby private high school, laundry facilities for a local hotel, storage and maintenance of production sets for 20th Century Fox Television, the Brentwood Theatre, soccer practice and match fields for a private girls’ soccer club, a dog park, and a farmer’s market.
A lawsuit accusing the VA of misusing the L.A. grounds and illegally leasing the land forced the agency to make changes. As part of a settlement, the VA announced that it would dedicate the West L.A. campus to “serving veterans in need” by, among other things, designing a plan to help end homelessness among the county’s veterans. The legal settlement also compelled the VA to terminate leases with private businesses that were never supposed to be there in the first place. In fact, in 2013 a federal judge struck down the leases, ruling that the VA misused the West L.A. property by engaging in them. The same judge, S. James Otero, halted construction of an amphitheater on the property. It was partially constructed by the Veterans Parks Conservancy (VPC) on the north side of the grounds, a site that was ordered to be restored to a neat, safe and clean condition by May 6, 2016.
Records obtained by Judicial Watch show that the VPC got a big check from the VA to tear down the illegal amphitheater. “Within thirty (30) days from the date of this Revocable License, VA will remit to VPC not less than $287,318 to reimburse VPC for its expenses in planning and partially constructing the existing amphitheater,” state the records, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) as part of an ongoing Judicial Watch investigation into corruption at the L.A. VA. “In addition, within thirty (30) days following the parties’ execution of the Acknowledgement Letter, VA will remit not less than $106,096 to VPC to reimburse VPC for its expenses to remove the partially-constructed amphitheater off the North Side of the Campus.”
The VA gave Twentieth Century Fox Television $435,000 to terminate its illicit agreement with the entertainment company, the records obtained by Judicial Watch show. The deal provided 72,160 square feet of land at the West L.A. VA to be used as parking, storage and maintenance of production sets. It was classified as a “Sharing Agreement” that caught the attention of county officials, who halted construction of a storage facility because Fox Entertainment failed to obtain necessary approvals and permits. The same batch of VA records reveal that for years UCLA failed to pay for utilities at its baseball field, officially known as Jackie Robinson Stadium, on the VA property. This amounted to $108,278, according to invoices included in the documents.
Just last month an official at the L.A. VA pleaded guilty to two felonies for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from a vendor that defrauded the VA out of millions. The corrupt VA official, Ralph Tillman, took over a quarter of a million dollars in bribes from a parking lot operator at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. The crooked parking lot operator, Richard Scott, owns a company called Westside Services that has long benefitted from a lucrative contract with the VA. Scott paid Tillman to conceal a scheme in which he failed to pay the VA more than $11 million generated by his operation of the parking facilities, according to the feds. Tillman admitted to federal authorities that he knew the parking lot operator was defrauding the VA out of millions of dollars and that he extended Westside Services’ contract in 2011 to continue the fraud and bribery scheme. Scott personally delivered monthly cash payments to Tillman in sealed FedEx envelopes. The disgraced VA official faces up to eight years in prison. While all this corruption went on at this VA facility, an Army vet got criminally prosecuted for displaying the American Flag on the outside fence on Memorial Day. His name is Robert Rosebrock and he faced up to six months in prison for the ghastly offense of reportedly affixing Old Glory at a site honoring those who served their country.”
More At: https://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2018/02/va-pays-big-bucks-reimburse-business-ending-illegal-contracts-l-facility/
“VA Sec. Against Prosecuting Army Vet for “Posting” U.S. Flag, Misled by Staff”
FEBRUARY 13, 2018
“The Secretary of Veterans Affairs was misled by his inner circle about a case involving an elderly Army veteran criminally prosecuted for displaying the American Flag at a southern California VA facility, documents obtained by Judicial Watch show. After seeing a news report about the preposterous case, VA Secretary David J. Shulkin asked his chief of staff, Vivieca Wright, to check if the story was correct, the documents show. In an electronic mail to his chief of staff, Shulkin writes that if the story is accurate “we should not be pressing charges and we should do a release saying so.” Shulkin adds: “I understand that media reports do not always tell the real story.”
Incredibly, the story is real. Robert Rosebrock was federally charged for supposedly hanging a four-by-six-inch American Flag on the outside fence of a VA facility in West Los Angeles on Memorial Day in 2016. The fence is part of the “Great Lawn Gate” and marks the entrance to the Los Angeles National Veterans Park. The public facility is part of a larger, 388-acre parcel that includes the Veterans Home of West Los Angeles. Since 2008, Rosebrock and a group of fellow veterans have assembled at the gate weekly and on Memorial Day to protest the VA’s failure to make full use of the property to benefit veterans, particularly those who are homeless. Judicial Watch helped represent Rosebrock, who faced up to six months in jail for the ghastly offense of reportedly affixing Old Glory at a site honoring those who served their country. He was also charged with taking unauthorized photographs of both the Flag and VA police, but a judge ruled in mid-April that the charges violated the First Amendment. The Trump Department of Justice (DOJ) has appealed the dismissal of the two charges, however.
Rosebrock went to trial for the flag charges and on April 18, 2017 a California U.S. District Court ruled that he was not guilty of violating federal law for displaying the two small flags. If found guilty, he would have faced up to six months in prison. More than a month before the trial, VA Secretary Shulkin’s inner circle circulated numerous falsehoods about the case, including that Rosebrock made the choice to go to court rather than pay a fine and that he faced no jail time. Gathering information for their boss, the VA officials also asserted it was “too late” to intervene in the Rosebrock case and that it was “out of our hands” because the case was old even though the trial was weeks away. VA Deputy Undersecretary Steve Young is included in the email exchanges, which are dated March 4 and 5, 2017. In one email, Marie Weldon, director of the VA’s western healthcare network, tells Young that Rosebrock “was issued a citation from the VA Police and if he chose not to pay the fine then he elects to take it to court which is where it is now.” This is incorrect. Rosebrock had no choice to go to court because the feds were prosecuting him. Weldon adds that Rosebrock has a history of hanging even full-size flags upside down on the fence of VA property. “This was not a first offense and Rosebrock was aware of his consequences,” Weldon, who oversees the healthcare system for 1.2 million veterans, writes to Young.
In another email addressed to Weldon, Wright and Young, the director of the West L.A. VA, Ann Brown, writes: “Forgot to add—he is facing a $25 fine with NO jail time.” Less than 20 minutes later, Wright, the VA Secretary’s chief of staff, forwards the erroneous information to a redacted email address that appears to be her boss’s. Large chunks of type are redacted under federal exemptions throughout the documents, which were provided to Judicial Watch in response to a request for records about Rosebrock. A largely redacted email from Brown to Weldon, Wright and Young discloses that she “met with DOJ about 9 months ago to resolve this and we’re told…” The rest is redacted under exemptions that allow agencies to withhold deliberative process material and protect privacy. It’s unclear how much of the information made it back to Secretary Shulkin. The fact remains however, that high level VA officials responsible for gathering facts about a case for the agency’s secretary instead circulated serious falsehoods.”
“VA Facility Where Vet Got Prosecuted for Posting U.S. Flags Duped out of Millions by Bribed Official”
JANUARY 18, 2018
Comments are closed.