VSO Exec Pay Shocker: Veterans Outraged

130424 DAV $$

Veterans this week were outraged when they learned how much DAV executives are being paid.

DAV’s top three executives earned over $1 million in compensation during 2011, according to the DAV’s IRS Form 990. That revelation may force DAV from the moral high-ground it claimed recently in its quest to cap attorneys’ fees in veteran disability claims.

“When I saw their pay, I immediately called the National Headquarters and asked for my dues back,” said DAV lifetime member Ron Nesler. “I assumed these guys were making a good living, but I didn’t think they were using the DAV as more of a get-rich-on-vets scheme.”

Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is one of the largest veteran service organizations (VSO) in the country, along with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion.

Collectively, these organizations represent millions of members nationwide.

Overall, these organizations provide a great service to many veterans. They provide free help with disability claims. They provide advocacy in Washington, D.C. They also assist in the health care delivery process with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Despite these accolades, the organizations, particularly DAV, have come under scrutiny of the veteran community on social media.

This week on Facebook, veterans posted data-mining results from IRS Form 990’s and other sources. The data allowed financial comparisons of most of the big veteran organizations, including compensation.

The IRS Form 990 is a public document that nonprofits like DAV are required to file with the IRS every year. These documents disclose the executive compensation and relevant expenditures as well as money from memberships.

This is what the veterans found. Compare the totals to Secretary Shinseki’s compensation of $200,000:

Name of Key Individual Total Compensation
DAV 2011 Form 990
Arthur Wilson $353,519
Barry Jesinoski $346,450
Christopher Clay $325,890
J. Marc Burgess $263,185
Anita Blum $254,726
Joseph Violante $250,520
Garry Augustine $240,358
David Gorman $208,130
William Saunders $160,458
Total $2,403,236
VFW 2010 Form 990
Lawrence Maher $238,513
Robert Wallace $223,410
Allen Kent $219,142
Robert Greene $197,028
John McNeill $171,980
Richard Eubank $163,679
Richard Denoyer $149,741
Richard Kolb $146,664
Thomas Tradewell $146,269
Total $1,656,426
American Legion 2011 Form 990
Daniel Wheeler $232,177
William Justis $163,871
Peter Gaytan $151,735
Philip Onderdon $151,183
Jeffrey Brown $149,991
Patsy Waltz $138,341
John Querfeld $109,513
George Buskirk $77,291
Jimmie Foster $68,726
Total $1,242,828

When You Live In A Glass House, Don’t Throw Stones

The research started on Monday when reports surfaced that DAV execs wished to limit the amount of money attorneys can make when representing veterans. Meanwhile, their own compensation was found to be shocking by many veterans.

DAV has had a longstanding distain toward attorneys in the VA claims process. The organization has been a vocal opponent to the  decision that allowed attorneys to get paid a reasonable fee when they help veterans during the claims appeals process against the Veterans Administration.

Working against progress, DAV executives wish to limit the options available to veterans. In a DAV-type perfect world, veterans would have to return to the old pre-1988 model.  Back then, only veteran service officers would represent veterans against VA lawyers and adjudicators. These service officers were generally nonattorneys.

Due to gross disadvantages, many veterans were unable to get their benefits. VA exercised its traditional “splendid isolation” decision making strategy – they could do whatever they wanted with no oversight. Further, traditional veteran organizations held a monopoly in helping veterans.

At that time, a law created around the Civil War restricted lawyers to only being paid $10 for their work to help a veteran get his or her benefit. The dollar amount changed very little until 2007. Once lawyers were able to get paid for their work the laws started to change dramatically in favor of veterans.

Specifically, veterans benefits are now considered “property” and as such a veteran has a Constitutional Right to their property which is protected by Due Process. This now includes property rights prior to the benefit award. In the 19th century, veterans benefits were considered little more than a gratuity in exchange for military service.

The Federal Circuit is now forcing the VA to live up to its claim that the VA system be tilted in favor of veterans – i.e. that it is nonadversarial and that vets get the benefit of the doubt. Things are changing. However, DAV would like to turn back the hands of time.

In response to the push against attorneys, veterans responded by researching compensation of VSO executives. Since VSO’s claim attorneys make too much money, some veterans thought it was worthwhile to see how salaries added up.

Of the biggest VSO’s, DAV had the highest total compensation of the bunch. When compared to Secretary Shinseki’s salary of $200,000, the executive salaries of the VSO’s have been questioned by these same veterans.


The Message From Veterans To DAV, “Pot calling the kettle black.”

Here is what some within the veteran community had to say:

Keith Rose: “That kind of money going to the big wigs when the actual service officers are underpaid in comparison to their VA equivalent counterparts. The heads making $250k or more is ridiculous! What kind of NPO pays theirs heads that much money when they seemingly provide so little to the people they are supposed to be advocating for!?”

Garwin Redman: “Chevy Cobalt service, at Ferrari pay. Just like government.”

Tanya Boozer: “People donate to these organizations to help veterans and their families NOT so the executives can get rich! If they want a six-figure income, they need to work for a for-profit company not a non profit.”

Tyler Brown: “”They have turned a national disgrace into a subsidized wealth program of their own to which it becomes profitable to have a backlog because if it were not for the backlog their job would not exist at all”

Bryan Dyer: “Not as angry at their compensation as I am at the quality of work that they produce along with the absolute archaic structures that I’ve seen. They need new blood, young blood, who are able to incorporate technology, program management, and lead this new wave of veterans into the future. CEO of non – profits make tremendous amounts of money. I don’t care about them making money due to the responsibility they have on their shoulders. I want new programs that are helping veterans get jobs. Why aren’t they leading the way with WWP, IAVA, Hire Heroes, and various other NSO’s to develop positions with top fortune 50 companies.”

Thomas Bruce: “Just more of the “elite” screwing the commoner again. It happens unfortunately in most aspects of “caring” entities.”


Special Thanks

The Facebook Page “Gulf War Veterans” was a big help with this research.

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  1. they’re all frauds getting rich off the backs of veterans……they can’t get legislation passed like the Blue water Navy Agent Orange Bill because they’re too fooking busy attending conferences all over the world…..and living high off the hog…

  2. update 2017-DAV +VFW + other crooks lying to veterans regarding disabled vets deletion of benefits.
    Trump nor Shulkin said reconsidering 6/2017 ONLY! Go online to these sites–they allow no phone messages or calls unless you know exact extension number-and no emails allowed. Try other searches- you have been hacked=same by all of them . But their(ALL) Donations access works great. Looks like they all using same
    webmaker. Friend put one in their will-a large six figure amount!. Removed it few days ago.
    Imagine donating to these scumbags who prey on our disabled veterans

    1. Veterans from all over the U.S. are suffering and dying from water contamination caused by TCE, DCE, Benzene, Vinly Chloride (PCB’s) in drinking water. Volatile Compound Agents that kill people Chemicals
      that have been outlawed by the EPA were used on military bases. Camp Lejeune, N.C. The VA is only
      going to recognize 8 diseases as presumptive. And every one else has to fight to prove the other 90 or
      more illnesses caused from drinking contaminated. Where is the DAV? That water was contaminated for
      more than 30 years. And since all the workers at the local chapter levels don’t get paid, then those at the
      national level don’t deserve to be paid either.

  3. Just tried with the DAV to get my money back……AINT GOING TO HAPPEN CAPTN!!!!!

  4. Brian, look to your recent article about Former Phoenix VA Chief Gets Probation, No Penalty For Dead Veterans. It is all about privatization. Getting Insurance companies, Big medical corporations, and Big pharma’s hands deeper into the pockets of the tax payer.

    It is being done by lobbyist to discredit VA care. And yes, the lobbyists are also on the payroll of the military industrial complex to get billions in reductions of disability compensation which competes in the bite of the budget apple most directly with them. FOLLOW THE MONEY AND GIFTS!

  5. I am all for giving our veterans donations to help. After all they went to war for us. But I am opposed to paying someone $6,798.44 per week to help them which books out to $170.00 per hour. How do we help otherwise?

    1. Say about 250,000 veterans suffer the residuals of cerebral malaria from Vietnam. (higher percentage from Somalia). Subtle TBIs have the same affecting residuals. (anosognosia making adjustment extremely difficult)

      If the average fair compensation is $500.00 per month each it is $125 million total for the 250,000 not counting the subtle TBI victims. That is $1.5 billion per year life time for those victims.

      A lot of campaign spending in the politics of congress and in the VSOs can be spent by the military industrial complex to make sure their bread is buttered with military hardware instead of the VA administration’s buttering the bread of the humanware, that is the victims.

      Until you focus on the money facts you will not shame a single congressman or VSO officer into doing their job for the veterans.

  6. Whose side are they on? The VA pays a private attorney 20% of the accrued back claim that doesn’t come out of the veteran’s first check. What the VA could do to reduce the attorney checks is adjudicate fairly based on the law and the VSO’s could provide adequate representation so that an attorney isn’t needed. I’ve been fighting for organic brains syndromes including TBI for myself and others as well as cerebral malaria for others for 28 years. It took 14 years to get the TBI recognized and granted WWP may have helped but they only helped current war veterans not the veterans that suffered in poverty for more than 40 years from Vietnam era and earlier.

    1. The DAV, American Legion and VFW all refused me any help from their national offices and their offices in DC.

    2. The veterans are right. The VSO guys are improperly trained to get veterans benefits for the veterans. They are paid $37,000 a year to help veterans. They screwed my claim back in 1979. It took me 15 years of fighting because of their screw ups and a rotten VA system. The VA adjudicators are paid to screw the veterans. The more claims they deny they get promoted with handsome pay raises. So why is the DAV and the VFW not doing anything about it? I hate all veterans organizations because they are a bunch of loud mouth pipes and rhetoric and they really don’t do a hell of allot of anything to help our veterans. The are non-profit corporations. All claims need to be handled by competent lawyers only and the VA made to pay all the fees to include the veterans 20% back pay that is being given to the lawyers. That 20% needs to come out of the VA’s pocket and not out of the veterans back pay. The veteran would not have had to hire any lawyer if the VA were being honest on those claims in the first place.

      1. It is about the money. Gifts and I suspect pay offs by lobbyists. If the cerebral malaria victims were compensated at least 50% average the way they should be (not me) it would cost over $1 billion per year. That is $1 billion per year that competes directly with corporate contracts in the budget especially to the military industrial complex.

        The lobbyist’s gifts to the directors of the Phoenix VA and Cheyenne VA to grease the wheels to get Health Net the “Choice Contract” which they under manage and under staff to increase Health Net’s short term profits were thousandths of a penny on the dollar for the profit benefit to stock holders in the Health Net Insurance Company.

        The fund raisers for the VSOs get pennies for their other veteran programs and convention funding to insure veterans get stiffed when it comes to disability compensation.

        It is the way the special interest work the game.

      2. And the contributions from the military industrial complex helps pay those 5 executive officers of most VSOs more than the Secretary of the VA receives.

  7. On top of their salaries most of these executives are drawing 100% disability compensation for themselves because of their cronyism whether they deserve it or not.

  8. Based on today’s SCOTUS ruling It looks like the upper echelon VSO’s are all going to have to earn their pay when disabled gay married veterans come banging down their doors to get their spouses, with or without children, added to their disability compensation. They will be inundated and will need to hire more VSO’s. Gay spouses are also caregivers so that will have to be thrown into the mix as well.

    1. Dishonoring the Honorable
      I am an 81 year old Korean War veteran. I have written a book to inform the general public about the CORRUPTION in the Department of Veterans ’Affairs.
      99% of them have no idea, because they don’t have to deal with the VA.
      Also I have 20 plus years of experience fighting for my service-connected benefits.
      Hopefully the information and suggestions will help veterans with their claims and benefits that veterans and family members might not be aware of.
      Review book at http://www.dishonoringthehonorable.com

  9. Damn, I was going to join them upon a recommendation, but the first thing they did was send my a letter for $240 membership fee. I hope they don’t tie me up now for $240 ransom. There is no good VSO, just temporary random good acts of faith.

    The VA can crush the life out of any kindness before it can ever grow.

    1. People you no longer have to wait and go through all administrative processes without a bar licensed lawyer who is specialized in VA Law to help veterans and to win. You will just have to make some kind of an arrangement with your lawyer as to the fees that he wants if he wins it for you. The only advantage is, if you hire a lawyer your claim may not get screwed up or denied as easily by the VA. You might get your compensation faster. I have been fighting the VA for 46 years. They are nothing but liars.

  10. It is me again, I hope these comments go somewwhere because these people are unconscienable, with people that really need it; the veteran, like they, whom they are supposed to help.

    P.S. This is a syntaxis revision to my first messagge

  11. .I think the D.A.V. organization, Post #`19 atLakewood,CA. are horrible; I was promised help from them in obtaining help to get sponsorship with badly needed work edone on my property approximately 6 moths ago, which they promised to help me but from Home Depot but it hasn’t gotten anywhere, although I have a lifetime membership in the D.A,V. I will not recommend them to any veteran, they will never get anything done.

  12. i need an agent red, white and blue presumptive diseases claim form ,cause the orange one ain’t work’in worth a damn!

  13. I stopped giving to WWP when I saw the CEO’s pay and bonus. I wanted to give to the vets for I am also one, but I will not give to any organization that pays that much to to their leaders. . Just think what a vet could do with just a little more help. It is my opinion that the vet is being ripped off and I will not give one nickle to it. I would love to help but I can not trust any of them.

  14. This indicative of semi government organizations that are set up to manipulate the and power structures of the groups to be served and mitigate the overall costs. Bureau of Indian Affairs, VA, DAV, RED CROSS, FANNY MAE FREDDIE MAC. Are all set up the same way,

    1. Well, they can all be sued for screwing up your claims. Don’t give them one red cent and get the word out.

  15. It’s what happens when deceitful and power-hungry people rise to positions of power to rule over their own little “kingdom.”

  16. We host virtual career fairs for the military community which have resulted in more than 21,000 veterans being hired since September 2011, and we are often told that we are profiting off veterans because we are not a non-profit, but if this is the money non-profits warrant, perhaps we should reconsider our business model. Top talent costs money be it in the for profit or non-profit sector, but if you are going to look down on for profit businesses, you should be fully prepared to defend such high salaries. At least we do not take money from others, and we only get paid if we produce.

  17. why is anyone surprised at these salaries ?- name me ANY non-profit executives that make under 6 figures – I left the boy scouts after I learned the ceo made MILLIONS
    And the “new darling” on the block – wounded warriors – the second in command there cleared $440,000 last year; and their not a 10th of the size of any of the other vet groups!!!!!

    1. Hmmm; so the truth comes out! A person on the DAV staff (i.e. official spokesman for DAV) has finally admitted that DAV is underpaying their frontline workers (National Service Officers (nso’s)) that is the DAV IS taking advantage of them! Not the quotation: “The salaries of DAV’s professional staff members are at the lower end of the scale for charities of DAV’s size. In many cases, they are well below the median.” He also admits that the DAV leadership keeps the pay or salaries low on purpose: “ Salaries are regularly reviewed by the organization’s Board of Directors to ensure that they do not exceed fiscally reasonable standards”. Does not seem like the DAV’s NSO’s (their backbone as has been so many times referred to at their National Conventions) now have a case for litigation over a wage dispute or even unfair employment practices and what about the supposed exempt status of the NSO’s, DAV’s way of getting more than 40 hours of work per week out of its NOS’s to include weekends this seems suspect to me….once again this should be looked into by at the very least a wage and labor board on a state level but in actuality by the very Congress they so proudly tout as having granted them a Charter to represent Veterans (or is it do business).

      1. The only veterans organization that is chartered and by Congress is The Marine Corps League. The other veteran organizations are not chartered by Congress. And the Marine Corps League is watched over by the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps. They are the only organization that is honestly helping out our Marine veterans and their dependents when they are in a need. They are a great organization.

    2. Guess the fact that the “fat cats” at DAV are getting FATTER because of the blood, sweat, and back braking work to include the uncompensated overtime of the NSO’ s is not comment worthy of anyone……that only thing that is comment worthy is that the “DAV Leadership” seems to be over paid….hmmm seems like someone DOES have an agenda; DAMN IT wake up if it were not for the real DAV, the NSO’s and volunteer’s the “leadership” could not command the salaries they do because there would be no success! Pay your workers, the real experts, accordingly!!!! They deserve an significant raise at least 225%accross the board….

  18. Interesting points. Here is my response to DAV’s Dan Clare: (his bio http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dan-clare/6/557/19a). His comment is below.

    It appears that his training in Public Affairs is suiting him well based on the above comments. Well spun my friend, well spun. Dan claims that I did exactly what he did when he provided DAV’s informal or formal response to my post above… “confuse and misstate the facts.”

    My point of the article above was as follows – if DAV wants to limit attorney fees, then DAV executives should take a comparable reduction in total compensation. But Dan’s response turns into a classic “bait and switch.” It is free country, so feel free to mischaracterize what I said. But I do reserve the right to have the last word at least on my own website. So here is my last word:

    This move (DAV salary cap) is anti-free market and anti-“right to contract.” It prevents veterans from contracting with whomever they choose, when they choose to get representation.

    Rather, DAV wants veterans to have the options DAV wants veterans to have. It’s like the DAV is telling veterans they can have whatever flavor of ice cream they want. However, when the vet walks up to the counter, DAV asks, “What flavor of chocolate ice cream would you like?” The veteran is then forced to decide between variations of the same flavor, rather than being given a true choice. This is what happens when monopolies thrive. No one gets a real choice. Here, veterans do not have a real choice when it comes to filing their initial claim for disability benefits. And DAV desperately wants that to continue.

    DAV is implying that veterans cannot be trusted to make smart decisions – that is ultimately the message when you boil down the fluff.

    Further, attorney Ethics rules prohibit unfair charging of fees. If the veteran was charged an unfair fee ($10k per hour) then the Federal Bar should have been notified and would have taken action. However, above, Dan implicitly says that, “While DAV Board of Directors can be trusted to prevent unfair compensation, the Federal Bar cannot be trusted to hold attorneys accountable – so we (DAV) need to cap every attorney working in veterans benefits law.”

    While DAV’s executives may not make as much as some other nonprofits (notice Dan failed to point out which ones), attorneys working in veterans law also do not make as much as other attorneys working more lucrative fields, i.e. Energy Law, Government Contracting, Business Law, Lobbying, etc.

    Hell, I say we either cap everyone working in the VA system or cap no one. But, this back and forth “pot calling the kettle black” monologue within the DAV does not help veterans work through the disability backlog mess. This is an “all hands on deck” situation and all parties need to come to the table.

    Personally, I believe all folks helping veterans should earn a fair living, and I am always cautious when others try to cap compensation.

    Here is a little perspective. Currently, most if not all DAV vet reps have zero economic incentive to help each veteran they represent – meaning they get paid no matter what. Let’s keep in mind that a veterans lawyer generally gets paid when the veteran wins. So, only when the veteran gets paid, the attorney gets paid.

    I ask any veteran reading this, at what point do you think the economic incentive should align within the disability process? Only after being denied benefits? Or at the beginning of the process?

    In the latter example, payment aligns the economic incentives of all parties which is why contingent fee cases work relatively well. However, if fees are capped, the incentive is limited by non-market forces. Here, the non-market force is the DAV.

    The DAV also desires to keep their monopoly. The monopoly is on the claims process at the beginning of the claim. It allows only veteran reps to get paid a salary or hourly wage while representing veterans prior to denial.

    I will now ask my two last questions. First, does the veteran population win when the VSO monopoly persists? Second, what flavor of chocolate ice cream would you like?

    Here is Resolution 84 that Dan Clare of DAV is referring to:

    “Support Legislation to Cap Attorneys’ Fees Benefits Counseling and Claims Services Before the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

  19. This curiously bitter attack on DAV manages simultaneously to confuse and misstate the facts.

    DAV’s opposition to the large-scale entry of attorneys into the Department of Veterans Affairs benefit process has never been a secret. However, DAV has worked to utilize the Veterans’ Judicial Review Act (VJRA) for the benefit of veterans. For 15 years, DAV operated its own office to handle claims at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Recognizing the increasing number of veterans needing representation at the court, in 2007 DAV partnered with two law firms to provide pro bono litigation services. Since that time DAV-assisted appeals have increased by 800%.

    DAV is not advocating a repeal of the VJRA or a rollback of the law to pre-1988. DAV wants veterans to know free representation is available at VA through its nearly 100 offices nationwide, as well as through other veterans service organizations. Veterans can hire attorneys to represent them, but they have a choice. They need to know that.

    DAV opposes permitting attorneys to charge fees for initial claims representation before the VA, prior to the “Notice of Disagreement” (NOD). At this stage, the VA’s obligation to assist the veteran, coupled with the advocacy of service officers should permit many deserving veterans to receive their benefits without paying a dime. DAV does not apologize for its position. DAV’s National Service Officers, who are themselves disabled veterans, assisted with more than 300,000 claims for benefits last year at no cost to those we served.

    At DAV’s National Convention, members adopted a resolution to cap fees for attorneys representing veterans. DAV will press for enactment of a cap in accordance with the mandate of its membership. For the most part, attorney fees fall within a range considered “acceptable” by VA and state bar authorities. Still, the law needs to be amended to prevent abuses, such as one case where a lawyer’s fees amounted to more than $10,000 per hour.

    DAV’s benefits advocacy program is the largest and most successful in the nation. This is due to the talent and dedication of its extensively-trained National Service Officers (NSOs) and Transition Service Officers. DAV wrote the book on service officer training. DAV’s NSOs, who themselves served, undergo a 16-month training program at the beginning of their careers. Once this initial training is complete, they enter a career-long series of more intense training which is accredited by the American Council on Education. The salaries of DAV’s professional staff members are at the lower end of the scale for charities of DAV’s size. In many cases, they are well below the median. Salaries are regularly reviewed by the organization’s Board of Directors to ensure that they do not exceed fiscally reasonable standards.

    1. Mr Clare, no one but you raised the question of how much compensation your front line field workers receive. And, if those front line folks ARE indeed paid on the low end of the scale for comparable workers at comparable VSO’s it must be just as demoralizing for those front line field workers, as it is for veterans, to learn how much money is lavished on your top ten executives.

      As a life member of DAV, allow me to say that having you tell me that you underpay your grunts does not make me happier about DAV Big shots gobbling up shamefully huge compensation packages. .

      Here is what I want to know; how much if any of the DAV yearly budget comes from the VA? I have used a lawyer to assist me in defeating the VA, and that lawyer received absolutely zero money per year from the VA. Consequently, that lawyer gave me, the client, their sole and complete loyalty. Because, their self interest was linked to my own, I knew the attorney was on my side.

      On the other hand, I believe the DAV accepts a LOT of money from the VA to subsidize those huge executive salaries. If true, that means the VA has more pull with the DAV than I do. I also hear DAV folks talk about playing golf, having cocktails and being buddies with the VA folks. I do NOT want to be represented by someone who is playing golf and Boozing with the very people from whom I need protection. Most vets feel that way, once they understand the associations and financial motives of the VSO’s.

      If, I am incorrect about the DAV receiving big money from the VA, please post some proof of where all of your operating money DOES come from. It is clear that it does not come from dues. I believe that I recently read that the DAV was stonewalling Congress about how much money you take from the VA. Why would you be secretive about that?

      When I am being robbed and cheated by the VA Vampire Parasites, I would much rather have a good lawyer who is on my side exclusively to represent me, than to be presented by an organization (DAV) which is taking big bucks from (and going to Cocktail parties WITH) the very folks that are cheating me.

      I think the days of the VSO’s preying on veterans are about over. I am an old soldier who served in Vietnam, I had to learn about VSO’s the hard way. These new vets from all of our new wars are smarter and more proactive than MY generation, and they are seeing through the VSO money grab right at their first contact with the big veteran groups. Good for them. I love my fellow ordinary veterans, the six figure per year professional veterans, not so much.

      1. Old Man Soldier! Do you just make crap up for the fun of it? The guy from DAV is plainly talking about the execs not just the service officers. Why dont you provide a link to quote the article you claim says DAV is ‘stonewalling congress.’ Maybe because you just that up? You should do just a little research before making scandalous statements. Are you a DAV member? It is in the report every year that DAV dont take a dime from the government – including the damn VA. Go throw more lies around while hiding behind your screename and keyboard more. I am glad someone from the DAV saw this and replied.

      2. Thomas Devine..
        Steve Criss. I think you need to reread that article. He was merely putting it as a question. He wasn’t for sure if the DAV was getting money from the VA but if they were.
        I am a life member with the DAV and when my Rep retired( A Vietnam Vet himself) my new rep didn’t just drop the ball, he threw it. I ended up switching over to the MOPH.
        I feel that what your executives are making is wrong. I sure hope you all can sleep at nights knowing that you are taking those who have sacrificed their lives for a ride. Now I am not hiding behind a screen name. You can take that Resolution 84 and try and pawn it off on someone else. We don’t want it.
        The government is treating us like second class citizens. We thought you could help us fight that stigma, but I guess you can’t when you both are in bed with each other.
        Sleep tight.

        Signed, Thomas Devine
        Sniper Vietnam

    2. If the DAV, the Legion and the VFW even paid their own RENT in Washington, DC, perhaps it would help them to find the courage to stand up to the VA and to give veterans the VIGOROUS honest support we need so badly.

      But, they don’t. They take free rent and services from the VA and they are thereby beholden to the VA instead of to veterans. Who knows what else the VA gives them?

      VSO’s are just one more greedy piggy at the trough, eating up what rightly belongs to us veterans. Let them get rid of the $350K-plus-bennies Big Shot’s and pay their own rent, and I might join, but not until.

    3. The DAV refused to help he get the Traumatic Brain and other Brain syndromes such as cerebral malaria appropriately compensated from 1988 through 2011. The last request to the DAV was sent by another person and the reply to him was that since my TBI was not a combat injury the DAV couldn’t handle the problem from my case.

      It took a reporter’s news paper article in 2007 or 2008 to garner the attention needed to get the subtle TBI victims compensated.

      I have personally obtained a private attorney and filed an SF 95 to the Navy and to the VA. We will join the DAV to the case if it goes to court because of the obvious failure to review the KASTL cerebral malaria report adequately and present its failings to the 1998 House Veterans’ Committee hearing on the subject.

      The DAV and the VA knew the disabilities experienced by veterans suffering from organic brain syndromes were not “adjustment disorders” which were not compensable under the 38 CFR disability rating schedules.

  20. It is a shame that the upper echelon of the DAV gets paid so well when the actual “nuts and bolts” work is done at the local level by their Service Officers’ at the Regional Offices, some few who have been loyal to DAV for many years and been literally crapped on by them and even worked over 60 hours per week for a paltry sum only to be told “you are being compensated better than your counterpart in other organizations”. This is truly the disgrace! DAV does not care about its employees it only cares about its bottom line reducing the benefits it provides to the workers, demanding more hours, less time at home and even hiding behind the nebulous term of calling they “Exempt employees”. It is time for a Congressional Inquiry into the true and hidden funds that DAV has to include the holdings that its Departments have; yes, the hidden accounts that have been rumored. And the unfair labor practices as well as the improperly trained service officers that “they” keep claiming are fully accredited who botch-up veterans and widows claims on a daily basis not to mention the poor managers that manage the people. Basically it is time for DAV to face the fact they need to open their books and doors to the “sunshine” like every other Not-for-profit organization as they are not above the law.

  21. I believe a FOIA is in order to try to find out how much money the VA is giving to the VFW, DAV and Legion to buy their silence on the VA ripping veterans off.

    Or, as we used to say at the Pool hall, if A is being robbed by B and C is claiming to be the protector of A, but is taking big bucks under the table from B, then A is taking a DUAL screwing from BOTH B and C.

    A=’s Veterans. B=’s VA and C =’s VSO’s O say Can you C?

  22. What many people may not realize is that the 990’s can be very misleading to someone who doesn’t understand them. The total reported for some may include not only their salary, but the value of their healthcare and pension plans, any bonus they may have received for any reason, relocation and certain other business-related expenses that were paid for various reasons that isn’t actually money paid to the employee, but is reported on the 990 as if it was. Guarantee none of these guys except maybe the top person at each organization actually has a salary (money they get personally) of even $200,000. This is all not to mention that just because they are in “non-profits” that they shouldn’t get paid for the hard work they do. I know that some of these guys are responsible for hundreds of employees, work probably 60-70 hours per week, travel constantly away from their families and work on behalf of millions of veterans. Their jobs are no less important, stressful, and time consuming than executives of Fortune 500 companies (who make WAY more money). They can have these jobs! Pick on other non-profits if you really want to talk about those who pay their top people high salaries of $500,000 to $1,000,000 per year!

    1. Good points. You mention health insurance, however, as disabled veterans, DAV officials can use VA facilities. But they have health insurance assumedly to get health care elsewhere? This is ironic. Back to my point about your points.

      First and foremost, this article is not about not making money. I like money. It would be great to make a lot of money through an honest living. I hope to do that to fund my veterans educational platform.

      This article is about the pot calling the kettle black. Some VSO’s claim that attorneys should not be able to set their own fees when they represent veterans to the VA – the claim is that these attorneys are unfairly profiting on the backs of veterans.

      Meanwhile, DAV execs, for example, do make quite a bit of money from both the DAV Org and the DAV Org’s Trusts that they manage. For DAV’s top earners, W-2 earnings alone come to $281,000; $262,000; $198,000; and $198,000 from just the primary Org. Then, many of these same folks make another $100,000 from the org in “other compensation” from the org. Most certainly, health insurance does not cost $100k.

      Again, if you can add and read, you can figure out what a Form 990 says. It does not take a genius nor an accountant to use a calculator or read.

      Here are the 990 instructions for Section 7: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i990.pdf.

      1. I think Frank can probably add and read, and I also think you are intentially being misleading because you are upset. I’m well aware of how 990s work because as a former employee of a non-profit, I was shocked at what was listed for me – well over twice the money I actually made! This made me question our accountants and look deeply into the necessary items reported on 990s. It became more clear to me when I realized that the costs the organization paid for my relocation, which was necessary but not my desire were reflected in the document. With realtor’s fees and all the expenses of moving a household across country, that added well over $80,000 to my overall number. Then I found that an average value of our retirement plan was also attributed to me even though it wasn’t my money, paid to me, or even mine to claim until I worked for many more years, assuming the markets would survive, I would survive, the plan wouldn’t change, etc. Yes, these things are available to be gleaned from a 990, but you have to read all of it and you have to understand what you’re looking at. Anyway, my point here is that you are putting all these dollar figures out there as if they are all purely compensation amounts paid to these people. If you wanted to at least be fair instead of misleading and sensationalistic, you would report their base annual salary only instead of what you did.

      2. Salvatore, thanks for the note. If DAV’s execs feel the 990 is inaccurate and contains dollar amounts that were not part of their “total compensation”, they should file a complaint with their accountant and the IRS.

    2. I can read and write pretty well myself. And, in my simple thinking, if a person receives $100,000 in salary and a $100,000 donation to their retirement fund, they have been compensated to the tune of $200,000 no matter HOW you spin it.

      One facet that is being overlooked here is the huge speaking fees these VSO Big Shots can command because of their positions. I would bet that the guys receiving $350,000 in compensation are probably also picking ~ a 100K or so in speaking fees. And, I would not be surprised if intense scrutiny were to show that they use DAV or VFW monies to pay their travel expenses, when they are going around the nation harvesting those huge speaking fees.

      A guy getting paid $350,000 per year by the DAV is NEVER going to convince me that he is a selfless volunteer trying to help other vets. The VVA does some selfless volunteer stuff, I have several times been the recipient of such, but the DAV guys being compensated at $350K per year, not so much.

      And, if they ARE veterans, which I will assume, why do they NEED health insurance? Are they skittish about subjecting their bodies to the VA? I am too, but these $350K per year gu7ys tell me I am safe at the VA, so let them use it too.

    3. DAV and VFW are also churning over a LOT more money than they take in in dues. If these VSO’s are taking money from the VA, I believe their membership, such as ME, have a right to know they are getting money from the VA. But, they won’t tell. Which makes me assume that they ARE taking money from VA. If they are taking money from the VA, they have ZERO credibility.

  23. I am a life member of the DAV since 1991,VFW since 1997, and the American Legion for 17 years. I have gotten nothing from them as a member. I figured this out a long time ago that this is a show and tell game. So, what new? The American legion Post #116 in Newport, Or. is a shame as far as the leadership. My last active assignment in Ar.DAV was missing money at the state level. My VFW Post in the Philippines needs a service officer which we seem to never get trained. We as veterans are not helping ourselves sleeping with the VA and the rest of the government officials that talk to us like Senator Diane Fienstien

  24. I am a life member of the DAV. In defense of the DAV I can honestly say they helped me along in every step of the way in processing my claim. I have nothing but praise and thanks for their regional service officers who work hard to get these claims processed as soon as possible. I will continue to be a part of this organization regardless of what the article has claimed.

    1. In all due respect, you sound *just like* the good little paid puppy spokesperson of which if you really had our perspective, your puppy eyes would be looking at your tail between your eyes all the time…and I was being verbally nice! Also, it may just be evidence that the incompetence of VSO’s varies location to location.
      This in itself directly reflects the symbiotic relationship between VSO’s and the VA Machine because the VA Regional Offices even vary State to State on performance and if the VA were to have the very needed structure as we all had living under the immobile rules of the UCMJ, the VA would operate like a well-oiled machine and then ideally, there would be no NEED for VSO’s.
      BTW–your “Lifetime Member” status REALLY impressed me! Your money would be better spent driving about and telling your homeless Veteran comrades whom have become homeless and hopeless BECAUSE of both the VSO and VA’s incompetence!

      1. I do NOT receive a single, solitary penny from the DAV; therefore I am not a paid troll. I am just one person who happens to be a life member and I paid my dues ages ago. I do NOT know anything about any DAV regional service officers other than the ones in my region of which I went through. I also do not know about other service officers’ incompetence, and if it is continuing that would be up to their supervisory staff to determine and deal with. However, I will defend the work that MY service officers did for me and I am too ill to drive around the streets of my city looking for homeless veterans to badmouth anyone. My city provides homeless veterans services as is. Perhaps you should start a national organization to do this. End of story.

      1. Well if you are a “life” member then why are you not actively involved with a local chapter? Disabled Americans Veterans is the membership. If it pisses you off about the compensation then become vocal. Get active with a chapter in your area, be an active member, assume leadership roles and go to the state and national conventions. Take service officer training, they offer it at the state conventions every year. Be your own best advocate as well as being an advocate for your fellow veterans

      2. Oh, there appears to be a misunderstanding. I’m fine with people getting paid fairly for the amount of work that they do. I am not fine with those people who are getting paid pointing at another group (in this case attorneys) and saying the other group should not get paid, too. Further, I focus my advocacy work in DC because that is where the decisions are made that tend to screw vets. Local is important in supporting veterans who get screwed. I try to stop those who are doing the screwing. Each serves a purpose.

    2. You must be joking? No one can defend those salaries. That is more than the president makes. has anyone ever seen these men? They sit in their offices for 5 hrs a day 3 days a wk and get that kind of money?

  25. I must say this does not surprise me one bit, unfortunately! Long after I had filed for SSDI when health overtook pride, as not only military career, but in civilian life I had always worked full-time, even whist in college.
    It was a Veteran Stand Down Event I went to in my city of Columbus, OH only because I needed clothing and the $50. gift card for food if showed DD214 with Honorable Discharge; it was at this Stand Down that I learned for first time I was definitely deserving of filing VA Disability because both I earned it and they broke it.
    However, just as I learned the unfortunately hard way with using an attorney for my SSDI claim, whom did absolutely nothing through denials (I did ALL the work and honestly, I NEVER MET HIM FACE-TO-FACE), my paperwork that I had saved in footlocker and made copies of anything I gave the DAV VSO, continued to *NEVER* leave a pile of similar sad soul’s paperwork from the DAV’s desk, where they after SIX MONTHS had the audacity to tell me they could not FIND my paperwork and nothing had even made it to the Regional Office after SIX MONTHS!
    Just as I did with my SSDI claim, I called my VERY helpful State Senator, Senator Sherrod Brown, whom does a lot of advocacy for we Veterans, and never went back to the DAV and the people assisting me from my Senator’s office told me that I was hardly the first to report to them of a Veteran Non-Profit Org. dragging their feet or otherwise having more of a vested interest in protecting the VA’s resources rather than actually helping the Veterans.
    Playing devil’s advocate, I DO believe the DAV, VFW, et al, have helped some people and think that is more than likely more so prior to 1992; the first “Line in the sand”! People working at ANY level in VSO’s should *NEVER* become ~comfortable~ in their jobs! That means fiscally, first most! On the same note, be careful with whom and if you get an attorney to rep you with your VA Claim! As with the jerk of an attorney whom I honestly could never get him to physically meet with me over a TWO YEAR period, and me literally doing ALL the work, even whist in and out of hospital; because it’s simple mathematics–the LONGER it takes for either your SSDI or VA Claim, the MORE their guaranteed 25% take off the TOP will be.
    This is a sad reality and I can assure you mine is not an isolated experience. There’s pariah out there that in guise of “helping you out”, their eyes are blinded by either dollar signs or the vested interests of THE VA!
    These VSO’s incomes are just as shameful as the big banks running our economy in ground and should be labeled as economic terrorists!

  26. This was interesting but this is better: Shinseki was a director of

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Hawaiian_Bank and


    An unconventional or conventional view of Guardian?

    You be the judge:


    Think about First Hawaii Bank after that.

    A decent read:


    First Hawaii made big money which was not limited to investments in Guam and Saipan, we call those investments “sweat shops”.




    Some of Shinseki’s business associates and investors for his bank can be found here.


    Shinseki profited off of Walter Reed, being an exec for bogus insurance, and a directing a bank which profits from absolute human trafficking and labor abuse in the Marinaras – Guam – Saipan – Hawaii. Now he runs the VA.

    VSO’s are bunk in terms of big salaries, but the reality is the VA has someone who should manage the finances of a sweatshop or manage ways to prevent people from having decent insurance, not for the VA as a secretary — but as a stupid person in miles off the coast of California.

  27. I found this out years ago. Think this stinks to high heaven then look at how much “In Kind” donation the DAV takes FROM THE VA. It’s over 100 MILLION. That isn’t a Veteran’s Interest group, it’s a VA interest one…

  28. It appears that when they screw vets they don’t even use a good or new screwdriver!

      1. The VVA has the balls to stand up to the VA. Not so much DAV, Legion or VFW. And, no one at the VVA is getting rich off of his or her fellow veterans.

  29. There is a good lesson here. It is this; if anyone anywhere is trying to screw veterans, Ben will shine a bright spotlight on them. All Parasites and Vampires should BEWARE! .

  30. The VSO’s are lined up with the VA big Shots, unions, VA contractors and politicians to feed off of the suffering of the enlisted military veteran.

    1. Thanks Bryan, No matter what the nitpicky issue, the root of the problem is that veterans’ are being administratively abused but the very same system that has been established to assist them. The VA backlog is staggering. To choose a service organization is the choice of the veteran. To argue about it diverts attention away from the real culprit which is the VA itself and the contractors that are hired to augment salaried VA staff. I would personally like to know how much BVA Veterans Law Judges are raking in. Why isn’t there anyone scrutinizing these malfeasant tricksters. These judges are a direct source in one facet of the docket system’s backlog.

      1. I think you’re onto something. VA and VA contractors are like an abyss. There is no telling how much money has been pissed away or to whom with not real output. It’s pathetic.

        Vet Court judges make $174,000. This is inline with most judges at the same rank. Supreme Court justices make $223,000. Of course, the Supreme Court folks also can make quite a bit of coin writing books and such. As the saying goes, “It’s good to be king, but just for a while.” The fact is, the staffing needs to be increased within the Court of Appeals to provide quicker turn around on appeals cases. The problem is that the front end of the disability process is mucked up with a lack of focus on accuracy. Speed of decision making is the core focus of VA right now. The Board of Appeals is in the process of hiring another 105 attorneys. I assume this means VA is anticipating many many appeals moving forward. https://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_salary_of_a_federal_judge

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