A federal audit of the Los Angeles Veterans Affairs facility confirms corruption is standard practice there.
Already, it was known that the 388-acre site that was given to the federal government for the benefit of veterans has been used for such things as a paid parking lot and a baseball stadium instead of services for veterans.
And an official running the center was prosecuted for taking “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from a vendor that defrauded the VA out of millions.”
In addition, taxpayers are footing the bill to get rid of contracts with private groups that were illegal in the first place.
Now, Judicial Watch, has been investigating the site for several years, says a new federal audit “exposes rampant fraud and corruption involving the illicit land sharing agreements made by crooked VA officials.”
Calling it a “huge victory for military vets,” the Washington watchdog has filed three Freedom of Information Act requests regarding the facility.
The audit, however, “vindicates” the veterans who are part of the group Old Veterans Guard, which has complained about the misuse of the site.
Proposed as a site for hundreds of veterans’ residences, the land has been used for years for a stadium for the UCLA baseball team, a high school athletic complex, laundry facilities for a hotel, storage for 20th Century Fox Television, soccer practices, a dog park and a farmer’s market.
Oh, and a parrot sanctuary and several parking lots.
According to Judicial Watch: “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. … 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.”
Judicial Watch is representing Robert Rosebrock, an elderly Army vet criminally charged for posting a pair of four-by-six-inch American flags on the outside fence on Memorial Day in 2016.
The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled last year that Rosebrock was not guilty of violating federal law for displaying the flags above the VA fence.
The “absurd case” was filed under the Obama administration but kept alive after President Trump took office.
Then there was the corruption-bribery case of VA official, Ralph Tillman, who 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.
The new investigation included review of about 40 land-use agreements and determined that 11 at the veterans’ facility 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 instructions following the audit are for the agency to begin a plan that complies with federal law.
That includes bringing all leases and land sharing agreements into compliance.
“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,” Judicial Watch reported.
The master plan includes 490 permanent supportive housing units by 2019 and 1,200 by 2026. But the audit says progress is far short of where it should be.