VET­ER­ANS POST

The Weekly Vista - - Fun & Games -

Land abuse in LA

In 1888, a 387-acre par­cel of land in Los An­ge­les was deeded to the govern­ment for the pur­pose of car­ing for dis­abled vet­er­ans, specif­i­cally for build­ing the Na­tional Home for Dis­abled Vol­un­teer Sol­diers. Af­ter a 2011 law­suit to de­ter­mine whether the land was be­ing used as it was in­tended, the courts con-

cluded that no, it wasn’t.

The Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs had leased out much of the land in a profit-shar­ing ar­range­ment or for small rent pay­ments. The 2016 WLA Leas­ing Act re­quired that all lease agree­ments must ben­e­fit vet­er­ans in ar­eas such as health, ed­u­ca­tion, vo­ca­tional train­ing and fam­ily. En­ter the Of­fice of the In­spec­tor Gen­eral.

The OIG dis­cov­ered that of the 40 land use agree­ments, 11 did not com­ply and 14 were ei­ther ex­pired or did not ex­ist. Here are a few ex­am­ples:

• The Red Cross was us­ing a build­ing while promis­ing to fo­cus on veteran ser­vices, but didn’t state how it would do that.

• A par­rot care fa­cil­ity promised to pro­vide ther­a­peu­tic ac­tiv­i­ties to vet­er­ans, but the fa­cil­ity was al­ways pad­locked. It had no signed agree­ment.

• Park­ing lots were open

to the pub­lic, not held only

for vet­er­ans.

• A school was us­ing 21 acres

as an ath­letic field; it had noth­ing to do with vet­er­ans.

• An oil com­pany had been

drilling on the site for 10 years, of­fer­ing no ben­e­fit to vet­er­ans.

• The city of Los An­ge­les was

us­ing 12 acres as soft­ball fields and a dog park. It promised to hire vet­er­ans, spend­ing up to $200,000 an­nu­ally, but there’s

no sign that it did. •

A youth soc­cer league had

been rent­ing prop­erty since 2003, with no ev­i­dence of any ben­e­fit to vet­er­ans and no signed agree­ment.

To view the whole 120-page re­port, go to www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-18-00474-300.pdf.

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