GSA Seeks Charges in Vegas Training Scandal

Friday, 13 Apr 2012 09:45 PM

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The General Services Administration’s inspector general has asked the Justice Department to consider criminal charges against an official who has been placed on administrative leave for his role in the $800,000 Las Vegas training conference, The Washington Post’s blog the Federal Eye reported.

Sources told the Post that GSA Inspector General Brian Miller turned over to federal prosecutors evidence that Jeffrey Neely took such things as an iPod and speakers, GPS tracking system, camera, and Sony tablet for personal use from a storeroom in the San Francisco-based headquarters for the agency’s Pacific Rim region.

The items were intended as gifts for an employee-rewards program. Neely, a career senior executive with the Public Buildings Service who was assigned to organize the conference, was placed on administrative leave along with four other regional commissioners for their role in the Las Vegas conference that prompted the resignation of Administrator Martha Johnson and the firing of two top deputies, the Post reported.

Four congressional hearings are scheduled next week on the 2010 conference.

Neely plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights ahead of one of the hearings, scheduled for Monday in Washington, Politico reported Friday night.

Despite Neely's request to be excused from the hearing, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said the subpoena requiring his appearance would not be lifted, according to Politico. Neely’s attorney later confirmed Neely will attend.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reported late Friday that an internal government memo shows GSA officials knew of a spending problem months before the scandal burst into public view.

The GSA's deputy administrator, Susan Brita, emailed agency officials last July that the inspector general found no substantive agenda at the 2010 conference at a Las Vegas resort, the AP reported.

She said that expenses for a clown suit, bicycles for a training exercise, tuxedos and a mind-reader didn't lend themselves to the claim of a substantive conference.

Brita also questioned why a regional administrator in charge of the conference received only a disciplinary letter. That administrator was placed on leave just this month.

The email was made public Friday by the House Government Oversight Committee.

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