Tags: Veterans | puerto rico | veterans administration | whistleblower

Daily Caller: Puerto Rico VA Offered $305,000 To Whistleblower

Image: Daily Caller: Puerto Rico VA Offered $305,000 To Whistleblower

Korean War veterans present the colors during a ceremony at a monument to the 65th Infantry in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sept. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

By    |   Wednesday, 31 Aug 2016 03:35 PM

Officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs attempted to pay a total of $305,000 to a whistleblower who refused to lie for her employers, according to The Daily Caller.

Rosayma Lopez's employers ordered her to write a critical report about Joseph Colon, who exposed the drug arrest of Puerto Rico's VA hospital director, DeWayne Hamlin.

Her employers filed termination paperwork against her instead, after she refused. The Office of Special Counsel, an agency that investigates retaliation against whistleblowers, ordered the VA to give her job back. The VA paid Lopez to sit at home for nine months, the Caller reported.

The Caller reported that Lopez's settlement offer increased after she was moved into a trailer without equipment to do her job, which involved processing Freedom of Information Act requests.

Her new supervisor handled the FOIA requests himself and overstated the amount of time it would take to fulfill a request, according to the Caller's report.

The Daily Caller's report said that the VA officials involved have not faced discipline in the case. VA spokesman James Hutton would not say if Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald supported the $305,000 payment to Lopez.

Spokesman Nick Schwellenbach said that the Office of Special Counsel relays offers from management, but is not a party to settlement offers.

"Our first priority is to try to make a whistleblower whole. For many whistleblowers, that means simply getting back to work, and that is what most settlements involve. There are situations, however, where the two parties negotiate the employee's departure from the agency in exchange for agreed-upon terms," Schwellenbach said.

Joseph Colon wrote to the Office of Special Counsel and expressed his disappointment at its handling of the case, the Caller reported.

"I am truly disappointed that your office would accept any agreement that requires a whistleblower to resign from their job to protect unethical employees at the VA," Colon wrote.

"There should be no discussions that require money in exchange for a whistleblower resignation. We should be embracing whistleblowers, and not trying to get rid of them," Colon wrote.

The Puerto Rico VA facility has been under fire for other issues. In March, The Daily Caller reported that an employee there was fired after being arrested for armed robbery. Her union got her reinstated when it pointed out that management's labor relations negotiator is a registered sex offender, The Daily Caller's report said.

The Daily Caller reported in May that the office's prosthetics services chief was hired for his job using government credit cards after serving 14 months for credit card fraud.

 

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Officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs attempted to pay a total of $305,000 to a whistleblower who refused to lie for her employers, according to The Daily Caller.
puerto rico, veterans administration, whistleblower
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2016-35-31
Wednesday, 31 Aug 2016 03:35 PM
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