DC - GSA Head Resigns Over Lavish Use of Public Money for Conference

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Naran
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DC - GSA Head Resigns Over Lavish Use of Public Money for Conference

GSA chief resigns amid reports of excessive spending

By Lisa Rein and Joe Davidson, Monday, April 2, 3:45 PM

The chief of the General Services Administration is resigning and two... top deputies... fired amid reports of excessive spending...training conference... featured a mindreader, a clown and a comedian.

GSA Administrator Martha Johnson ...resignation... Monday. Public Buildings Service chief Robert A. Peck and Johnson’s top adviser, Stephen Leeds, were forced out Monday....Four GSA employees who organized the four-day conference ...on adminstrative leave ....

Organizers spent $835,000 on the event, which was attended by 300 employees.

[url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gsa-chief-resigns-amid-reports-of...

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This is why we need to be so careful about who we send to Washington. These folks at the GSA must be pals with McCormick and Violette.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
It would be interesting to

It would be interesting to find out how much money other departments are spending in DC, for similar "training exercises."

eagleisland
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Joined: 04/30/2005 - 12:01am
Wow - just wow. That works

Wow - just wow. That works out to $2783 and change per attendee.

I attend several conferences/trade shows a year - reasonably high end - and between admission fees, travel and lodging it's usually about 20-30% less than this.

We get serious speakers in - top level, in fact. Have yet to see a mind reader, and the people who run these organizations would be looking for new jobs if they ever pulled time- and money-wasting stunts like this.

In case you wondered who appointed the dismissed head honcho of GSA, that would be the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Here's some beta on the gal Obama just tossed under the bus.
But I suspect that she's taking the fall, and the problem is much deeper than this.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
I agree, Eagle. Somehow, I

I agree, Eagle. Somehow, I doubt the GSA would have purchased those velvet-lined boxes with commemorative coin collections (conference party favors?) if they didn't think they had permission from the Oval Office. I imagine every other party the GSA held the last three years has been much the same. I suspect someone wasn't pleased with this year's over-the-top bash, and dropped a dime to the Washington Post.

Like the safari trips, the jaunts to Vegas, and the other luxury travel we've seen from the White House occupants, I believe that largesse with public money is a way of life in Obama's DC.

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Kind of ironic:


Secretary of Homeland Security Janet A. Napolitano, left, listens as General Services Administration Administrator Martha N. Johnson speaks during a news conference to discuss the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on Dec. 8, 2010, in Washington. Brendan Smialowski/Getty

I guess "someone saw something," so they said something.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
Based on Eagle's link, this

Based on Eagle's link, this is not her first public drubbing. It appears she was accused of knowingly withholding information about a contaminated Federal complex, where workers were sickened, and some died. Johnson spent S234K on lobbyists to try and repair the negative GSA public image resulting from the cover up and illnesses. Swell.

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Leaked documents show the GSA knew about contamination at Bannister Federal Complex
Posted by Nadia Pflaum on Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 3:41 PM

.... sick employees at the Bannister Federal Complex -- sick workers employed outside the Honeywell factory, from the neighboring General Services Administration and IRS facilities in the complex -- has yielded a major bombshell ....

A government insider leaked a letter to Ptacek from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to the GSA administrators of the Bannister facility, urging them to follow up on several environmental concerns ....

[url=http://www.pitch.com/plog/archives/2010/01/27/leaked-documents-show-the-... Complex contamination[/url]

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Site future

In February 2012 the GSA announced plans to remove all remaining federal employees from the site by 2014. More than 1,000 employees will be relocated to... Kansas City. The move coincides with plans by the NNSA to also vacate the Bannister complex by 2014. GSA officials are said to be seeking a buyer for redevelopment of the property, a task that may be complicated by multiple Superfund sites located on the property.[4]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bannister_Federal_Complex

Gee -- the Kansas City "Love Canal." How special.

Melvin Udall
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Joined: 05/01/2002 - 12:01am
Somebody contact Dale; she

Somebody contact Dale; she seems eminently qualified for this gig.

On the other hand, maybe she already knew about it, and that's why she exited yon coop.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
Maybe if President Obama

Maybe if President Obama stopped sending Michelle to Vegas and his kids on Spring Break junkets with an entourage and 25 Secret Service agents, it would send the right message to everybody else in DC about "squandering taxpayer money."

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Federal agency GSA rocked by spending scandal
Administrator Martha N. Johnson, in her resignation letter, acknowledged a &quotsignificant misstep" at the agency that manages real estate for the federal government.

WASHINGTON — ...snip
....snip

Obama “...outraged by the excessive spending, questionable dealings with contractors, and disregard for taxpayer dollars,”
....
....snip
....catered in-room parties ... daily breakfasts; $75,000 for...“team-building” exercise... $146,000 ...food and drinks. $6,325 ...commemorative coins in velvet boxes.... “networking” reception featured a $19-per-person artisanal cheese display ..$7,000 in sushi. ...employees received “yearbooks” with their pictures, at a cost of $8,130.

[url=http://bangordailynews.com/2012/04/03/politics/federal-agency-gsa-rocked...

************

Based on his own vacation and jaunt spending, he hasn't got a tailored leg on which to stand.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
April 4, 2012 AFP story on

April 4, 2012
AFP story on Obama daughter’s Mexico trip scrubbed from Internet

report ... daughter, Malia... spending spring break in Oaxaca, Mexico appears to have been completely scrubbed from the Internet news sites that first reported it. Pictures have appeared in Mexican magazine Quién.com allegedly showing Malia visiting Oaxaca.

AFP, the French news agency, first reported Malia Obama....vacationing in Mexico with 12 friends under the protection of 25 Secret Service agents and a number of local police officers.

....“the group arrived in Oaxaca on Saturday and reportedly visited the architectural site of Mitla.”

[url=http://dailycaller.com/2012/03/19/afp-report-obama-daughter-malia-spendi...

Islander
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Joined: 02/13/2009 - 12:16pm
Obama was outraged because he

Obama was outraged because he was not invited, otherwise it could be that the money was supposed to be spent on a trip for the family. But he has no problem wasting Chinese money on his friends who just happen to own green energy companies.

Butch Moore
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Joined: 11/20/1999 - 1:01am
Apparently is it now Bush's
matt8888
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Joined: 10/14/2007 - 10:09am
AFP story on Obama daughter’s

AFP story on Obama daughter’s Mexico trip scrubbed from Internet

Sounds like a good headline, but a search on google news brings up 2,712 news articles on the trip. Does anyone read beyond the headlines anymore?

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
Apr 13, 9:31 PM EDT GSA

Apr 13, 9:31 PM EDT

GSA official to assert privilege to remain silent

By LARRY MARGASAK
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- ...General Services Administration executive will assert his right to remain silent at a congressional hearing.... into the agency's spending practices...

It was learned that the official, Jeffrey Neely, also could face a possible criminal investigation.

...snip
As the executive largely responsible for an October, 2010 conference at a Las Vegas resort, Neely was subpoenaed to testify Monday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

[url=http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_GSA_WASTE?SITE=NHPOR&SECTION=H...

=============

According to the article, the GSA brass knew about the lavish spending on this conference and other events for months prior to the report coming out, and the Washington Post article.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
I watched these hearings last

I watched these hearings last night -- it was spectacular to see the GSA spendthrifts dragged over the Congressional coals, one after another. Do not miss these hearings, whether live or in a repeat on CSPAN. Unbelievable excess with public money, and almost no remorse from some of the worst culprits. Former Administrator Johnson even gave Neey a $9K bonus, despite the evidence that he had been acting like a robber baron with public money.

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GSA Heads Slammed During Congressional Hearing

By Lauren Fox
April 16, 2012 RSS Feed Print

.... Ohio Rep. Michael Turner pointed out... during a House Oversight Committee hearing... many of the trinkets guests walked away from the Las Vegas conference with weren't even made in the United States.

...snip
Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings... read several incriminating E-mails Neely sent to friends ....inviting them to the conference. "We'll get you guys a room near us, and we'll pick up the room tab," Neely wrote. "I know I am bad, but as I often say 'Why not enjoy it while you have it...Ain't going to last forever.'"

[url=http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2012/04/16/gsa-head... and Video of Neely[/url]

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Neely pleaded the Fifth yesterday, but his web trail is putting him in deep kinshee. The GSA Inspector General has recommended to the Justice Department that multiple criminal charges be filed. There were kickbacks; alerting bid competitors that another bid was lower; passing off expenses for private parties and pals he invited as different expenditures, and then we had the 10+ fancy "Inspection trips" made by Neely and his family to Vegas, supposedly "checking out" the hotel prior to the conference. Meanwhile, GSA has its own event planner.

Happily for American taxpayers, Neely's wife posted lots of festive photos on her Google pages, filled with shots of Neely enjoying the deluxe hot tubs in primo rooms, while sipping expensive wines. He can plead the Fifth all he wants, but he's toast.

One Congressman brought actual samples of the party treats and favors given out to participants, including embroidered custom vests, year books; other books defining Vegas party roles and required costumes for various GSA participants, and those commemorative coins. All bought in either China or other foreign countries.

Unbelievable.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
Video of the GSA

Video of the GSA Congressional hearings. Some are several hours, some are shorter. All are worth watching.

**************

General Services Administration Management Issues, Panel 1, Part 1
Apr 16, 2012

House Committee Oversight and Government Reform
General Services Administration (GSA) staff testified at a hearing on the investigation into improper spending on a series of lavish GSA conferences.

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/GeneralServ

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General Services Administration Management Issues, Panel 1, Part 2
Apr 16, 2012

House Committee Oversight and Government Reform
General Services Administration (GSA) staff testified at a hearing on the investigation into improper spending on a series of lavish GSA conferences.

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/305422-2

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General Services Administration Management Issues, Panel 2
Apr 16, 2012

House Committee Oversight and Government Reform
General Services Administration (GSA) staff testified at a hearing on the investigation into improper spending on a series of lavish GSA conferences.

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/305422-3

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General Services Administration Oversight

Apr 17, 2012

Government Services Administration (GSA) current and former officials testified on the lavish conference the organization held in Las Vegas in October 2010.

April 17th Hearing on GSA

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/ServicesAdmi

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
General Services

General Services Administration handed out $1 million to workers under investigation
By David Goldstein, McClatchy Newspapers
Posted June 04, 2012

WASHINGTON — ...General Services Administration... handed out more than $1 million in taxpayer-funded bonuses since 2008 to dozens of employees who were under investigation for misconduct.

Already under fire for its lax oversight of spending, the GSA gave bonuses to at least 84 of its employees while they were being investigated, according to a Senate analysis. Some were as low as several hundred dollars, while one employee received nearly $76,000 over five years.

BDN

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