Not even a week into President Trump’s administration and already the purging of corrupt employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs is occurring.
Under former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald, the agency ignored years of evidence about shoddy work ethic, theft, and whistleblower retaliation. Last year, the VA began a months-long investigation after an outside agency, the Office of Special Counsel, pushed for it.
Recently, a V.A. hospital in Puerto Rico lost its CEO, DeWayne Hamlin, who once offered an employee $305,000 to quit after she played a role in exposing his drug arrest.
According to The Daily Caller, “McDonald hired Hamlin to mold other VA employees in his image, having him serve as a “coach” at the Leaders Shaping Leaders training session in September. McDonald said the training is the number-one way to shape the agency’s culture.”
V.A. spokesman said, “Mr. DeWayne Hamlin was removed from federal service effective January 20, 2017, Inauguration Day.”
Besides the removal of the V.A. CEO, Elizabeth Rivera has been fired. She had taken in an armed robbery, then kept her job while she was in jail, and continued to work in the hospital’s security office while wearing an ankle bracelet.
The V.A. hospital still has a handful of other felons on its staff:
- Tito Santiago Martinez, a human resources official in charge of hiring and disciplining at the facility, is a convicted sex offender who said, “There’s no children in [the hospital], so they figure I could not harm anyone here.”
- Braxton Linton, a high-level manager in charge of buying prosthetics such as hearing aids, often with government-issued credit cards. He was hired just weeks after release from federal prison for stealing $70,000 using credit card info he lifted from his previous employer. He had also been arrested on drug charges while working for the VA, and it is unclear whether he disclosed those arrests to his employer.
- In 2011 the hospital also hired a man who had a criminal record for illegal firearms in 2007. Last year he was killed in a shootout suspected to be related to drug dealing. He was carrying his own illegal gun again but didn’t manage to fire first.
The VA in Puerto Rico is not the only hospital to employ felons.
During the Obama administration, “eleven sex offenders listed a Detroit VA hospital as their work address; some of them were fugitives wanted by local police, but the VA cited employee privacy.”
Rapists and kidnappers also reportedly work at other VA hospitals like:
- An Ohio VA employee, Antoine Hall, was convicted of creating pornography depicting a 13-year old in 2014. Hall is wearing a VA badge around his neck in the sex offender registry picture, meaning he was still going to work after being sentenced, and even received a bonus in 2015.
- Ralph Wood was convicted of child molesting in 2006 and sentenced to five years in prison, with three years suspended and he was released in 2008 then began working at the Indianapolis VA hospital as a clerk.
- David Allison was convicted of child molesting in 2007 and began working in “medical support assistance” in 2010. His five-year prison term was suspended and he may have been on probation at the time of his employment.
In December, a bill was introduced by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), requiring the VA to stop hiring felons and to fire the ones that already work there.
H/T: The Daily Caller
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