The VA - More Good Care and Bumbling Bureaucracy
Harlingen, Texas, October 31, 2009: The ink had not even dried on our latest commentary about VA care and operations before another flood of email from across the country hit our computer. Veterans had a lot more to say.
Marc Martinez a Navy veteran from McAllen, TX is still expressing his anger over the slow movement of the VA in the Rio Grande Valley. “We have more than 100,000 veterans here in deep South Texas”, he writes. “They have been fighting for more than 30 years to have a VA hospital built in this area. During all of that time they have been forced to spend countless hours on the highway driving more than 270 miles one way to a VA hospital in San Antonio. Even by Texas standards that is a long trip. It usually adds up to about 5 hours of fast driving, followed by an overnight hotel stay, followed by a day long wait at the hospital to receive service and than a repeat of that long 270 mile trek back home. For many of us this is a trip that has been required weekly or monthly for years.”
Sidney A. Schwartz of San Benito, TX wrote of the government’s attempt to improve the administrative situation for veterans. He writes, “I am a surviving combat veteran of WWII. I was informed the VA had a new program to provide picture ID cards so war veterans could be quickly identified in the event medical help was needed. The regional VA office in Harlingen administers the program. All of my records and documents were copied but no ID picture was taken. I was told the documents had to be confirmed before a photo would be taken. I was given a note that said I would be notified within 10 days to return and complete my application. Since no notification came after eight weeks, I returned to the VA and was told that my documents could not be verified because they had no picture of me. They said their computer was down and they could not take my picture. I was told to return in two weeks when the camera would be fixed and online. Just after two weeks I returned again and was told the camera was still not working. In the future I should call first because they did not know when the camera would be working.” Sidney went on to explain that when you call the Harlingen VA you get a computer answering machine and not a person, so that didn’t work for him either. It is not known if he ever received that ID card.
William Carr says, “I like a lot of vets, have had terrible administrative service from the VA. I do not use them medically or otherwise. Here in Carteret County, NC we do have one of the best VSOs (Veteran Service Officer) however, Colonel Hank Gotard, USMC (Ret) in the VA pantheon. He really looks after the troops and is highly respected.”
Jim Bathurst is a retired Marine who served 36 years in both the enlisted and officer ranks. He now resides south of Springfield, IL. He tells about the wonderful care he received from the VA clinic in Billings, MO. After numerous CT scans and MRIs they flew him to the Salt Lake City Regional VA Medical Center for back surgery. He says, “I could not have been more pleased with the outcome. In fact, upon returning home, I sent a personal letter to the Director of that hospital telling him how pleased I was with the experience. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, down to the guy who swept the hallway floors at night could not have been more professional, courteous and caring.”
Bathurst also praised the Billing clinic saying, “It was run by a retired US Army Colonel, Urologist. It ran like a finely tuned clock.”
He concludes, “I have been to many VA clinics and medical centers since retiring and the lonely one where I found problems was with the Mountain Home facility in Johnson City, TN. They are severely over burdened, almost to the point where they have become inefficient. The problem as I saw it was when the government changed whom the VA clinics would see. They basically started seeing and accepting everyone who ever served a day in the military. I saw men and women in Johnson City that had spent two years in the military and had no service connected problems at all. They simply went to the VA because they could…and it was free. It’s no secret that when something is free it WILL be taken advantage of by not just a few of our fellow Americans, but many of them.”
Gale Gabriel is a veteran who has visited a VA clinic and hospital in Wisconsin with mixed emotions. He says, “You can, on occasion, get a dedicated caregiver but for the most part they will give a cursory exam, prescribe some pills and send you on your way. Some, like Minneapolis are so large it reminds me of herding cattle. I also was disappointed with my first visit to the new clinic in Harlingen, TX. I went to the new clinic and could not make an appointment because they say I don’t belong there. I arrived at 8, waited all morning, left briefly for lunch and returned to find they had called my name in my absence. I then waited another hour to see the doctor who only gave me a ten day supply of the pills I needed because, as they said, I belong in Wisconsin.”
Mike Bailey is a former Army Staff Sergeant and an Operation Desert Storm veteran. He holds the administrative side of the VA in complete contempt. His words, “The whole system sucks, plain and simple.” He continues saying, “On the healthcare side I have to do an about face and tell you the truth. I get better care at the Charlie Norwood VA medical Center in Augusta, GA, that I received from doctors I choose from the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Plan 1, I had from the Postal Service when I worked there. On the other hand, I wouldn’t give you a nickel for the Dom VA in Columbia, SC. I will only go there on the day I am ready to die. They might hasten it.”
Eric Muth is a former Army Staff Sergeant from Milford, CT and he has strong complaints about going to his VA clinic for a scan of his left leg, which had a blockage. He charges the doctors ordered a scan of the right leg and then noted in his records that ‘Does not contemplate having surgery at this time’. He only managed to get the situation corrected when he threatened a malpractice suit. They then did a scan on the correct leg.
From New Mexico, Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Revie, US Army (Ret) writes he has had few dealings with the VA. “The reasons are varied, but among them is the fact that Las Cruces has a community clinic much like a forward aid station and has little treatment capability.” He says the clinic must refer to the El Paso VA Clinic that is 50 miles away. If things can’t be handled there “The next nearest VA facility is the Albuquerque VA Hospital, which is 250 miles distant. One difficulty with the El Paso Clinic”, he says, is that they must refer outsource patients only to providers in the El Paso area and not to providers who live in the vicinity of the veteran’s home.”
Writing from Orlando, FL retired US Coast Guardsman William Miller says,” I dread going to the VA even for my routine annual check-up. I had shingles last year and the year before that. When I called the VA clinic to get an appointment for a shingles shot, I was told I couldn’t get an appointment until July.” He continued seeking help for another month and was finally told by a nurse, “the doctor would not authorize a shingles shot since I already had shingles twice and there was no medical evidence the shot was effective.”
Michael Beggs is a retired Marine Captain from Fredericksburg, VA. He says, I stepped on a landmine in 1971 in Vietnam and was ultimately medically retired from the Marine Corps.” Seeking VA help, “I quickly learned that I would have to report back to the VA hospital annually for an examination to determine if I was ‘still wounded’. When I pointed out to the VA physicians that only chameleons can regenerate tissue, they were not amused.
The Captain went though all the required examinations and was awarded his disability rating. Time passed and “Somehow I did not receive one of the annual ‘you are directed to report to the nearest VA hospital for reevaluation’ notices…and one half of my disability pay provided by the VA was stopped.”. The VA stopped his disability pay because he had “refused reevaluation”. He has now waived his VA rights and the Marine Corps has resumed paying his disability stipend. “It will be a cold day in hell before I deal with the VA again,” he concludes.
Retired Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant Art Cohan says, “I hate it that these great guys and gals get shabby treatment from the VA, and our Commander in Chief calls them ‘selfish’ for not giving more.”
Army veteran Mike Press says, “The VA is an organization out of control and Congress refuses to do anything about it. There are 25 million veterans in this country. Let’s get together and make some changes.”
Disabled Navy veteran Ron Whaley comments, “I know I had to fight them for years and then tried to be seen by an over worked doctor in an over worked clinic. It is like a nightmare to most people. We need mandatory funding for the VA and we need it NOW!”
Finally, to show rank has no special privilege in the VA, Brigadier General Bob Clements, USAF (Ret) writes, So far my experiences with the VA trying to file a claim, stink.”
Long time friend, retired Marine and Minister, Pastor Ed Evens writes from Nashville, TN. “We are fortunate that the VA hospital is backed up to and only 25 yards from the world class Vanderbilt Hospital. Many of the doctors who work at Vanderbilt also see patients at the VA and many of the procedures are conducted at Vanderbilt since they are connected by two second floor walkways.”
“I am aware through talking with other veterans, that there are bureaucratic problems with the VA and sometimes you run into someone who should know more about the system than they do, but there is usually help available. From what I have seen the new VA Head, retired Army General Shinseki is making a difference from the top down.
“But here is the key: Ask questions! If you don’t understand what is going on, or it doesn’t make sense to you, ask questions until you are satisfied. VA hospitals have a Patient Representative, an ombudsman, whose job it is to represent your complaint to the staff and solve the situation. It’s just like when we were in the military. We can sit around and complain to everybody about something, or we can solve it by going to that person who has the power to make the right decision.”
Unfortunately, there are uncountable veterans who do not understand or are unable to fight the bureaucratic system to the point where they can resolve unsatisfactory situations. Nor should they be placed in positions where they are required to fight for promised care. We have seen from reports made by veterans that this vast government operated Department of Veterans Affairs can be outstanding. We have also seen it a nightmare for the common man in need of help. There are many veterans around the country who see the VA medical system as only a preview of how things will be once the federal government takes over all medical care for the nation.
Thomas D. Segel
Saturday, October 31, 2009
The VA - More Good Care and Bumbling Bureaucracy
Here is an old e-mail dating back to 2005. I am trying to honor my father's legacy because he died on October 29, 2009- the month of my birthday. Please post this information on your blog; futhermore, please feel free to call my sister, Kathy Dinunno, with any questions or concerns. Her number is
Albert Eric Ellek
MKULTRA Experiment #313
May God Bless his soul and the secrets that he left with.
Michael Robert Ellek
Cc: email@example.com; TESTVET@aol.com
Sent: Wed, Nov 9, 2005 12:19 pm
Subject: Edgewood volunteers
My name is Michael Robert Ellek, USMC '79-'83; '86-'87, and I am writing you today regarding the possibility of one of the Edgewood volunteers presenting on December 6, 2005 in Washington. I am the son of one of the Edgewood volunteers, Albert Eric Ellek. My father was ingested with psychochemicals for the secret CIA operation called "MKULTRA"--the name was only known to CIA operatives at the time in the late 50s early 60s.
Congressman Hyde is trying to get my father, at ali, his coveted Soldier's medal and address the life-time medical benefits that these brave patriots were promised for participating in such life changing experiments at Edgewood. Do you have the capability in obtaining the underlined [below] document for our use? Currently, the portfolios that state my father's cause for volunteering is at the Army Awards Branch for review. Mike Bailey and Eric Muth have spearheaded the "Edgewood volunteers" story, and hopefully we can get these men what they deserve for their deliberate volunteerism--the definition of a hero/heroine!
This White House philosophy "not to support our Vietnam Veterans" in lieu of protecting and minimizing chemical company costs that would be incurred (*reference White House memo put out to federal agencies) and then deny Vietnam Veterans and their families death and disability benefits seems to be now " a learned and accepted practice" by our government. This seems to permeate research and similar studies for Gulf War Syndrome, anthrax vaccine recipients, the Veterans of Project 112 testing and SHAD testing, and the Edgewood Arsenal testing, etc. There is also the previous history of DOD/VA cover-ups in Nuclear Testing and LSD testing.
Michael Robert Ellek
Meeting your health insurance needs.
Michael, I know this is of little solace, a few Senators and Congressmen follow this blog as well as the Department of Veteran Affairs, so they will now know of his passing, that they ignored this man as well as the other 7119 veterans used in the Cold War human experiments from 1955 thru 1975 until now, should be a shameful fact for them to face or deal with.
I know you have fought for years for recognition for your father and the other veterans, both in the failed promises of the medals they were promised but never received, and the failure of the VA to keep the PROMISE made to these veterans as it does to all veterans, we know the veterans used at Edgewood Arsenal were harmed many physically as well as some psychologically either way the damage was caused by the human experiments that were illegal as well as inhumane. Both the British government and the Canadian government have recognized this as in the past three years have apologized and compensated their veterans of their suplicate programs that ran along the same timelines and with interagnecy cooperation and the scientists from the three nations shared data and experiments, the doctors and scientists traveled from gagetown to Porton Downs and Edgewood Arsenal to work together, yet the United States has still failed to publicly acknowledge the damage done to men like your father and the other 7119 men of Edgewood.
Your father will live forever on the pages of this website Mike
Friday, October 30, 2009
Senator Webb has just been selected to chair the Personnel Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Armed Services for the 111th Congress.
We wanted to share with you some significant news regarding Jim Webb's continuing service in the United States Senate.
Senator Webb has just been selected to chair the Personnel Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Armed Services for the 111th Congress. The Personnel Subcommittee has jurisdiction over all manpower issues in our armed forces, as well as programs affecting the health care, retirement benefits and housing of our nation's military families.
Senator Webb is ideally suited for this important new post. As someone who grew up in the military, and whose son and son-in-law still serve today; a much-decorated Marine platoon and company commander in Vietnam; the inaugural Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs; and the first Naval Academy graduate in history to serve in the military and then become Secretary of the Navy, Senator Webb understands as few others do the rigors and challenges of military life and the inner workings of the Pentagon.
He will use his extensive experience and expertise in military and defense matters to strengthen congressional oversight over a wide range of issues relating to the welfare, professional development, and quality of life of service-members and their families.
Senator Webb now chairs subcommittees on two of the most active committees in the Senate. He was selected in January to chair the vitally important Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and Pacific Affairs. His service as Chairman of the Personnel Subcommittee will build on his strong advocacy for active duty troops and veterans.
Since joining the Senate, he has drafted, introduced, and passed a modern, comprehensive post-9/11 GI Bill, the most significant improvement in veterans education since World War II; spearheaded the effort to increase "dwell time" between combat deployments for active duty and reserve service-members; obtained an independent investigation to examine the effectiveness and reliability of body armor; and authored legislation that led to the establishment of the Commission on Wartime Contracting to root out waste, fraud, and abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan wartime-support contracts.
Thank you for your continued support.
Webb for Senate
I think this is a great job for Senator Webb sometimes they actually do find the right piece to fit into the puzzle right, and this is one of those cases, who better to comprehend the manpower needs of the military and the difference between what is needed and what would be nice to have......sometimes we just can't afford the nice to have and sometimes it does have to be paid for like new housing units for the families, new barracks for the troops, new troops for the Marine Corp or the Army, increasing the size of the force, etc. Congratulations Senator Webb I am sure the military will appreciate having someone that can comprehend and understand the needs.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
The Dover base, about 100 miles from the White House, is the entry point for service personnel killed overseas.
Obama’s predecessor, President George W. Bush, visited the families of hundreds of fallen soldiers but did not attend any military funerals or go to Dover to receive the coffins. In a 2006 interview with the military newspaper "Stars and Stripes," Bush said he felt the appropriate way to show his respect was to meet with family members in private.
Obama is in the midst of an intense, weekslong review of his war strategy in Afghanistan. He has upped the U.S. commitment there to 68,000 troops and is considering sending a large addition next year, but fewer than the 40,000 troops requested by his commander there, U.S. officials tell The Associated Press.
Please go to the website where I read the entire AP article so you can read the entire article, due to copyright issues I will no longer post entire AP articles but three paragraphs is supposed to be legal as it is only being used to pique your interest to make you desire to read the entire piece.
From the Daily Beast there is this
Obama Visits War Dead
Susan Walsh / AP PhotoIn an unannounced midnight trip, President Obama visited Dover Air Force base in Delaware on Wednesday to meet a plane returning with war dead from Afghanistan. The 18 soldiers and Drug Enforcement Administration agents in the coffins on board were killed this week. October was the deadliest month for American forces since the war began in 2001 and Obama is weighing whether to deploy as many as 40,000 more troops requested by General Stanley McChrystal in an effort to turn back Taliban gains. According to the Washington Post, the president is looking at province-by-province intelligence assessments of the the country in order to determine a viable plan.
Read it at Associated Press
Posted at 5:50 AM, Oct 29, 2009
I am glad we now have a President that will take the time to go see what has been wrought in our names and what is at the core of the title of Commander in Chief of the military, this is the ultimate price anyone can pay for their nation, and he took the time to pay them and their family the respect they have earned.
I know he can't spend all of his time attending the dignified transfers every day, but he had to do it at least once, to feel what it is like, it is a solemn process and you have to think about the reasons for sending the troops into harms way, I hope it helps guide his decisions for the future escalations or de-escalations during the rest of his Presidency, as a veteran I am proud of this President and the compassion he shows and the questions and depth he goes to ask the hard questions, rather than just accept the "Generals" wants as gospel. Generals always want more, it's up to our elected officials to decide the merits of giving them more or changing the mission.Sphere: Related Content
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
These are Dangerous Times to be an American Veteran!
By Robert L. Rosebrock, Staff Writer
Sharon McCaslin, prosecuting attorney for the United States Department of Justice, officially declared war on America’s Veterans when she defiantly pronounced in federal court that it is “desecration” and a “crime” for a Veteran to hang the American Flag in the “Distress” mode alongside the POW / MIA Flag.
She declared her act of warring defiance even when Veterans are in full compliance with the VA’s approval and the U.S Flag Code, and while lawfully protesting against the U.S. Government for abusing and misusing their sacred and sovereign land for the benefit of commercial and non-Veteran special interest groups, which is a flagrant violation of the Congressional Act of 1887 and the Land Grant Deed of 1888.
U.S. deputy attorney Sharon McCaslin officially declared this to be “desecration” and a “crime” as these noble and patriotic Flags are apparently nothing more than “placards and material” to her. The billion-dollar parcel of Veterans’ land behind these locked gates was recently given away rent-free by the U.S. Government to a wealthy homeowner group for a public community park. Now that that’s desecration and a crime in the most disgraceful sense!
On October 21st, I appeared before the Honorable Judge Frederick F. Mumm in the United States District Court in Los Angeles for the hearing and arraignment of a criminal citation issued to me via U.S. mail by the Los Angeles VA police.
raudulent Charges and Malicious Prosecution
The trumped-up charges were for a purported “unauthorized demonstration” held on July 26, 2009, during what would have been our 71st consecutive Sunday Rally to “Save Our Veterans’ Land.” No such "unauthorized demonstration" happened then or on any of the previous or following Sunday Rallies.
In Case 2085602 in the United States of America vs. Robert L. Rosebrock, Judge Mumm officially ordered the charges dismissed.
It’s quite clear that the VA’s citation for “unauthorized demonstration” was malicious and discriminated against me when the VA police, directed by VA bureaucrats, to single me out personally and trample all over my First Amendment Rights with a fabricated and unwarranted “unauthorized demonstration” charge.
Moreover, this fraudulent citation not only disenfranchises me of my Constitutional Rights to peacefully protest, but it undermines the Civil Liberties of all fellow Veterans and every American citizen and fellow human being around the world who believe in freedom and justice and the Right to lawfully protest against their government.
Warrant For My Arrest
By a motion of the U.S. Government, Judge Mumm ordered the “unauthorized demonstration” charges against me dismissed.
In an amazing act of defiance, Ms. McCaslin unilaterally ordered a Warrant for my arrest on that very same Case after the Judge had already dismissed the “unauthorized demonstration” charge. Moreover,her fraudulent Warrant on behalf of the Department of Justice was ordered and postmarked by U.S. Mail on October 21st, immediately after my hearing.
This was not a “clerical” error. No, this was a calculated and an illegal act in a flagrant and cowardly attempt to harass and intimidate me even more.
Ms. McCaslin is defending the wrong people and she has dangerously retaliated against me for exposing the serious violations of the Congressional Act of 1887 and the Land Grant Deed of 1888. This land was exclusively deeded to America's Military Veterans "to be permanently maintained as a National Home for Disabled Soldiers," but the powerful politicians have aided and abetted in taking this land away from Veterans and giving it to special interest groups.
U.S. Department of Injustice
Clearly, issuing a false Warrant for my arrest immediately after the charges were dismissed by the Judge is fraud, amongst many other charges, yet Ms. McCaslin continues to pick up her paycheck in spite of breaking the laws that she is getting paid to enforce. Where is the justice in the Department of Justice?
Even though Ms. McCaslin was forced to dismiss the fraudulent charges against me and our peaceful Sunday demonstrations, she arrogantly refused to dismiss five separate citations that are also falsely trumped-up for “displaying placards and material on property.”
Clearly, Ms. McCaslin couldn't try me on the VA’s fraudulent “unauthorized demonstration” charges but she then turned around and issued a fraudulent warrant for my arrest in an attempt to put me in jail on false pretense.
Ms. McCaslin is supposed to be representing the Department of Justice. If that is her idea of “justice,” then our judicial system and our Constitutional Rights are in very serious trouble and the Civil Rights of every American is in serious jeopardy. Clearly, it is Ms. McCaslin that should be on trial, and not me.
It is disgraceful beyond comprehension that Ms. McCaslin has declared war on the Constitutional Rights of the very men and women who have pledged their lives to defend the U.S. Constitution, the very Document that she has taken an Oath to uphold, but has failed miserably.
For the Record
This is to serve public notice that on Sunday, October 25, 2009, I fully abided by Ms. McCaslin’s “other condition” in the “release bond” that she ordered upon me personally: "not post anything on gate or anywhere on VA property and not demonstrate / unlawful without permit."
She ordered this malicious stipulation in the order of the U.S. Department of Justice on the “Central District of California Release Order and Bond Form,” at my October 21st U.S. Court hearing.
Contrary to my legal Rights as an American citizen, I sadly followed Ms. McCaslin’s malicious directive that trampled on my First Amendment Right to peacefully demonstrate this past Sunday, and I did not post anything on any gate or anywhere of VA property, because I was not there.
Let the record reflect that this is an outrageous and discriminatory order by Ms. McCaslin, because I had heretofore lawfully, legally and peacefully demonstrated with my fellow Veterans and friends of Veterans for the past 82 consecutive Sundays, and a "permit" was never required, nor is one required because we demonstrate on the Los Angeles County sidewalk, which is completely out of the VA’s jurisdiction.
VA’s Shameless Sneak Attack!
During Sunday’s demonstration, several VA police snuck up from inside the VA gates and ordered the Veterans who were in attendance, all in their 70s and 80s, including 86-year old World War II Veterans Steve Palmer in his wheelchair, to remove the U.S. and POW Flags, including the Flags with the five Branches of the U.S. Armed Forces that were posted far away from the “fence.”
These elderly, senior citizens are American Veterans, and all they did was simply and honorably post America’s most revered Flags in front of the largest VA in the nation, yet they were treated like criminals by armed VA security police.
Fear For My Safety and Well-being
There is no doubt that the political corruption, power and greed that's run amok in West Los Angeles regarding the National Veterans Home property are seriously retaliating against me personally, and Veterans as a whole, for challenging to expose the fraud and corruption behind all these egregious land deals that seriously violate the Congressional Act of 1887 and the Land Grant Deed of 1888.
Make no mistake; I fear for my personal safety and well being, and for my fellow Veterans as well. I am also in fear of the orchestrated abuse and serious violations of my legal and Constitutional Rights as an American citizen, and these violations have been perpetrated by those in political power and the special interest groups they kowtow to, and those employed by the U.S. Government to facilitate their greed and corruption.
If the Department of Justice and Ms. McCaslin had spent as much time prosecuting the real criminals who have flagrantly violated the Congressional Act of 1887 and the Deed of 1888 with the ongoing confiscation of BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF VETERANS’ LAND, as they are in trying to prosecute me over a fraudulent $15 citation by legally demonstrating against these land heists and posting the American Flags upside down in protest, we wouldn't be demonstrating every Sunday to begin with.
Following are only a few of the unscrupulous leases of Veterans' deeded land that the VA has facilitated to benefit a few of the wealthy at the burden of the many Veterans, including 20,000 who are homeless in Los Angeles.
• The WLA VAMC entered into a 20-year agreement with Brentwood School, one of the wealthiest private schools in the nation, for 21 acres of Veterans land to build an athletic field that is off limits to Veterans. The sharing agreement expires in 2020
• The WLA VAMC entered into an agreement with Breitburn Energy. The land use agreement is for drilling oil on Veterans land and the Department of Interior controls the mineral rights agreement.
• The WLA VAMC entered into a 20-year enhanced sharing agreement with Richmark Entertainment Group, Hollywood / New York entertainment business, for the Wadsworth and Brentwood Theaters, the only two theaters at the National Veterans Home. They are no longer available for Veterans use but have become readily available for a “cultural community center” for the wealthy neighboring residents. The agreement expires in December 2025.
• The WLA VAMC entered into a 10-year enhanced sharing agreement with Sodexho Marriott on Building 224 for laundry services for their hotels. The agreement expires in March 2010.
• The WLA VAMC entered into a no-bid, rent-free enhanced sharing agreement with Veterans Park Conservancy, which is not a Veterans organization but a wealthy neighboring homeowners group, for a 16-acre billion-dollar parcel of Veterans land to build a public community park. The agreement was signed on August 24, 2007 and is a 20-year contract with a 10-year option.
• The WLA VAMC entered into a 10-year enhanced sharing agreement with UCLA for a baseball diamond and the agreement expires in 2011.
• The WLA VAMC has entered into a 20-year enhanced sharing agreement with the Salvation Army for Building 212. The agreement expires December 2025.
• The WLA VAMC has entered into a 10-year enhanced sharing agreement with the Salvation Army for building 207. The Agreement expires April 2015.
• The WLA VAMC entered into a 50-year federal lease agreement with New Directions for Building 116. The agreement expires August 2045.
• The WLA VAMC entered into a 5-year memorandum of agreement with a five-year option with New Directions for Building 257. The memorandum of agreement expires February 2012.
• The WLA VAMC is negotiating a 75-year lease on building 209 with a New York-based nonprofit developer (an oxymoron if ever there was one). Mr. Tillman chose Common Ground of NY and McCormack Baron Salazar, a national developer of mixed-income urban neighborhoods to operate a homeless housing service, with no guarantees that a resident has to be a Veteran.
• The WLA VAMC entered into a 20-year enhanced sharing agreement with Westside Services for parking lots on Veterans land that includes the Brentwood Village lot. The agreement expires in 2020.
• The WLA VAMC entered into a special agreement for Community Soccer Leagues to use MacArthur Field on Veterans land.
• The WLA VAMC has operated a Veterans nine-hole golf course that allows the public to "pay to play" and more than $200,000 has been stolen / embezzled from employees working at the course. The VA attempted to negotiated an enhanced sharing agreement with a “non-profit” organization with an individual proclaiming to be a direct family member and spokesperson of the original donor of this land, even though Arcadia de Baker, the benevolent donor died in 1912, had no children, and left no will.
Where's Congressman Waxman?
The major question amongst fellow Veterans and concerned citizens is where has Congressman Henry Waxman been during all of this land grabbing? After all, he is the elected steward of the largest VA in the nation that is included within his 30th Congressional District, and it is his fiduciary responsibility to prevent the abuse and misuse of any Veterans land here, not facilitating it.
Compromises at the Highest Levels of Government
When Sue Young, the executive director of Veterans Park Conservancy (VPC), was asked by the “Brentwood News” how she was essentially able to acquire the 16 acres of Veterans land (valued at nearly a billion dollars) for a public park, rent free, she responded: "Because this arrangement was unprecedented, it required lengthy discussions and compromises with Veterans Administration in Los Angeles and Washington. The agreement also called for approvals at the highest levels, i.e., Secretary Nicholson, and the involvement of the Congressional delegation."
There you have it; Ms. Young’s coveted public park on Veterans sacred land required unprecedented compromises at the highest levels of government to swindle a billion-dollar parcel of land from Veterans, and Congressman Waxman didn't stop it. In fact, he actually supported it!
It’s Time to Prosecute the Real Criminals
Veterans must continue to keep fighting for their land and demand the Department of Justice prosecute the real criminals who have pillaged and plundered our' sacred and sovereign land for their personal gain and benefit.
While these criminal thugs continue to go free, never forget that in our lawful defense of this land, we have been subjected to harassment, intimidation, discrimination, slander, defamation, stalking, spying, been accosted, challenged and insulted, retaliated upon, faced persecution, the victims of fraud, conspiracy, filing of false police reports, selective enforcement and malicious prosecution, just to name a few of the egregious violations perpetrated against America's Veterans, and me in particular.
An Act of War
These are dangerous times for America’s Veterans to stand up for truth and justice, particularly when the Department of Justice has declared war upon us.
It’s time to awaken the sleeping giant of 25 million American Veterans and stand up to defend our sacred land from our government.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rosebrock is a U.S. Army Veteran, Vietnam War-era, HQ USARHAW, Schofield Barracks. He is Director of The Veterans Revolution, Co-Director of We the Veterans, Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee of the West Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, and a Member of the American Legion Press Association.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
VA Takes Back Slain Military Vet's Benefits
BALTIMORE -- Next month, Americans will pause to honor our nation's veterans, but the day will be tough for a Dundalk family who is mourning a slain Vietnam veteran while fighting the system that was designed to take care of him.
At 17, Daniel Hoeck needed his parent's permission to drop out of high school and fight a war in Vietnam. Two tours of duty later, he made it home safely with a Purple Heart and a deep conviction, according to his sister, Marie Davidson.
"My brother always loved his country. It didn't stop," she told 11 News I-Team reporter Deborah Weiner.
His love for country didn't stop as his body wore down from Agent Orange exposure and disease.
Daniel Hoeck was slain in his Westfield home during a burglary in February.
On Feb. 12 at age 62, Hoeck was slain in his Westfield home during a burglary.
"(The culprit) not only stabbed him once, he stabbed him twice so he wouldn't live -- right through the heart," Davidson remembered.
Before he was killed and at the urging of family, Hoeck sought medical help from the Department of Veterans Affairs in Baltimore.
About 18 months after he first applied for benefits, a lump sum retroactive payment finally came in the mail for him and monthly checks were soon to follow, but the problem was, Hoeck was dead, Weiner reported.
At the advice of an attorney, Hoeck's sister deposited the check of $13,694 in an estate account for him at First Mariner Bank. Hoeck never married or had children, so Davidson was considered his legal and personal representative.
While she didn't say she thought that monthly benefits should be sent to a deceased person, her issue was the retroactive lump sum payment, which would help cover her brother's debts.
"They just never managed the affairs to get him the money," she said.
"It was something that was owed to him prior to his death, and whether it was payable to him individually or his estate, it was owed," said estate attorney Gina Shaffer.
But Veterans Affairs officials saw the case very differently. Soon after learning from the family that Hoeck had been killed, they took the benefits check back, demanding First Mariner return the money to the U.S. Treasury Department.
"They just reclaimed the money from the bank, and we just got a letter from the bank. The VA never, ever told us," Davidson said. "It was something that was owed to him prior to his death, and whether it was payable to him individually or his estate, it was owed."
- Estate Attorney Gina Shaffer
"It would be the same thing if we died and there was no one to receive anything that we were supposed to get. That meant, essentially, we were not owed it anymore," Shaffer said.
Officials with the VA are standing by protocol in the case. They insisted they only acted according to federal law, which mandates the money be reclaimed if the recipient has died but, if Hoeck had a wife or children, they could petition the VA to get that money returned to his estate.
That's not the case for single veterans.
"Absolutely everything that comes from them restates that, sadly, a service person who did two tours in Vietnam and offers his life for his country, that in his time of need, if he didn't marry or have any children, he actually just vaporizes in the system," Davidson said.
"It's a shame. A shame," said Bernard Edelman of the group Vietnam Veterans of America.
The group said that part of the blame goes to the 18 months Hoeck had to wait before the VA determined his benefit eligibility. They said long waits can be common, but not if veterans get help from service representatives that organizations like the VA offer.
"Have someone be your advocate," Edelman said.
After the I-Team's inquiry, the Department of Veterans Affairs agreed to pay Davidson more than $2,700 to cover expenses related to Hoeck's death, but they made it clear that it was a one-time payout.
Shaffer said it was never about collecting the money.
"It's about honoring a veteran -- a contract you made for him," she said.
The VA called the case quite unusual but pointed out that the military rules are different if a veteran dies alone without a spouse or children.
Hoeck is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
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The VA has never paid benefits to other than spouses or children other family members are not able to claim benefits owed to a deceased veteran, even I can't claim the 75,000 owed to my step father for the radiation exposure he was owed by the RECA act, that claim died with him in Sep 2000 as my mother had passed in March 1996. This is not an outrageous story, this is normal practice wether the sister or her lawyer likes it or not. This is just the VA being the VA.