Tag Archives: vets

Army Vet Takes Shocking Photos Of Trashed VA Clinic

(DCNF) U.S. Army veteran Christopher Wilson showed up to a Utah VA clinic only to receive treatment in a dilapidated room covered in trash and debris, sparking a firestorm on social media and an apology from the clinic.

“The condition of the room was the way it was when he went in, no other room was offered and no attempt to clean it up was made for the duration of his appointment,” Stephen wrote on Twitter. “No apologies offered. He received injections for a service injury during one of his tours in Iraq.”

The veteran’s father, Stephen Wilson, tweeted out pictures of the disgusting room, saying his son had gone to receive treatment for wounds received during his two tours in Iraq. The father’s diatribe received more than 15,000 retweets, with the VA chief of staff contacting his son personally to apologize, with the facility releasing a statement saying “medicine is messy,” and that it would “review its policies,” according to Stephen.

Mismanagement at VA hospitals is endemic across the U.S. More than 6,000 of the VA’s medical professionals haven’t passed background checks, even if they’ve worked for the department for years. The veteran’s hospital in Washington, D.C., is so poorly managed that it’s endangering military service members and wasting millions of taxpayer dollars, according to a March report.

Written by Anders Hagstorm: Follow Anders on Twitter

 

This article was republished with permission from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Investigation: Wounded Warrior Charity Only Spends 60 Percent Of Funds On Vets

By Jonah Bennett – The Wounded Warrior Project, a charity organization dedicated to helping injured former military members, only spends about 60 percent of its donation funds helping veterans.

An investigation by CBS News discovered that the Wounded Warrior Project has a dismal record when compared to other similar charities, though the group managed to pull in $300 million just in 2014. The organization apparently raised more than $1 billion since 2003.

“Their mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors, but what the public doesn’t see is how they spend their money,” Army Staff Sgt. Erick Millette told CBS News. Millette worked with the project for two years before quitting from disillusionment, saying that the charity was little more than a scam to bring in money and spend on extravagant and luxurious parties, as well as other non-vet-related expenses.

The Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust, in contrast, spends 96 percent on veterans and Fisher House spends 91 percent.

“You’re using our injuries, our darkest days, our hardships, to make money. So you can have these big parties,” Millette added.

Millette wasn’t the only employee to speak up regarding problems plaguing the charity. CBS News interviewed over 40 other employees with similar stories. Owing to concern over retaliation, two former employees in particular declined to be interviewed by CBS on camera.

The spiral occurred over just a few years. In 2010, spending on conferences only amounted to $1.7 million. But in 2014, that number surged to an unbelievable $26 million, causing many employees to panic and point to CEO Steven Nardizzi, who came aboard in 2009, as the reason for the decline in the organization’s mission.

“Donors don’t want you to have a $2,500 bar tab. Donors don’t want you to fly every staff member once a year to some five-star resort and whoop it up and call it team building,” said Millette.

Wounded Warrior Project’s Director of Alumni, Army Capt. Ryan Kules (ret.), denied to CBS that there was undue spending on conferences. That conferences were held at five-star locations, Kules said, was to facilitate team alignment.

[dcquiz] A follow-up investigation from CBS on Wednesday found that the project has a culture of retaliation.

“If you use your brain and come up with an idea, within a matter of time, you’re ‘off the bus,’” one former employee told CBS.

Outlandish spending isn’t the only controversy the group has courted in the last several years. The group focuses an incredible amount of resources on suing other non-profits who use the phrase “wounded warrior” into oblivion. Instead of helping veterans, these charities on the receiving end of the Wound Warrior Project’s litigious tendencies have had to use funds putting up a legal defense.  One charity in Pennsylvania, called the Keystone Wounded Warriors, has had to spend more than $72,000 defending itself.

Non-Profit Quarterly called the behavior “ugly.”

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VA Inspector General To Investigate Philly Director’s $288K ‘Relocation Payment’

By Chuck Ross

The inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs has opened an investigation into why the director of the Philadelphia regional benefits office was given a $288,000 “relocation payment” to move from Washington, D.C. last year.

Diana Rubens was awarded that hefty sum to make the 140-mile move from her previous job in Washington, D.C. where she served as the agency’s deputy undersecretary for field operations. She oversaw 57 regional benefits offices in that position.

Florida U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, sent a letter to VA inspector general Richard Griffin on March 10 asking for an investigation into Rubens’ payout and to the agency’s policies regarding such payments. Miller also alleged in the letter that Rubens is being paid a senior executive service-level salary despite her current position being “two levels below her Central Office pay grade.”

Miller wrote in a separate letter to VA Sec. Robert McDonald that the “outrageous” payments are especially troubling given the agency’s scandals revolving around its inability to provide care to sick veterans.

Griffin responded on Friday.

“The OIG is reviewing the documentation regarding the propriety of expenses associated with Ms. Rubens’ move from VA Central Office to the Philadelphia VARO. When that review is complete, we will provide you the results,” Griffin wrote in a letter obtained by The Daily Caller.

Griffin’s office will also conduct “a risk assessment of the controls and activities related to permanent change of station relocations Department-wide that occurred in fiscal year 2014.” (RELATED: VA Official Was Paid $288K In ‘Relocation Payments’ To Move 140 Miles)

While federal agencies routinely help employees cover the cost of house-hunting, moving, terminated leases and temporary housing, Rubens’ payment was $274,000 more than what the VA typically pays out.

Records show that in fiscal year 2009, the 755 relocation awards it paid averaged $12,485. In 2010, 762 relocation awards averaged $11,951 each. And in 2011, 789 awards averaged $13,047.

Housing costs don’t seem to have been the issue. Property records from Alexandria, Va. show that Rubens sold her home last July to Stone Financing for $770,000. Stone Financing sold it at an apparent loss last month for $692,500. Rubens bought a house in Havertown, Pa. in September for $589,000.

Rubens was paid more than $181,000 in base salary last year. She has also received other controversial payments in the past. She was given $97,000 in bonuses between 2007 and 2011 even though claims processing times doubled to 325 days on her watch.

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