84 GSA Employees Got $1.1 Million In Taxpayer Funded Bonuses While Already Under Investigation For Wrongdoing Or Misconduct

June 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – An ongoing congressional investigation reveals $1.1 million in bonuses were awarded to 84 employees of the General Services Administration since 2008 — while the inspector general was probing these individuals for wrongdoing or misconduct.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who is heading the investigation, said the overall number of employees receiving bonuses while under investigation is likely to be “far higher” since not all information for current investigations is now available, according to a release from the senator.

Of the 84 GSA employees, each received an average of eight bonuses, totaling $13,000.

One program officer received more than $38,000 in bonuses since 2008, despite being reassigned for abuse of authority. Another employee, a GS-14 level supervisor, received more than $20,000 in bonuses, even after being reprimanded for interfering with an IG investigation, according to the release.

“It doesn’t pass the smell test to be awarding huge bonuses in taxpayer dollars to officials who are being investigated, or have already been found responsible, for fraud and waste of those very taxpayer dollars. That’s why I’m not letting up on our fight for accountability in government,” McCaskill said in the release. McCaskill is the chairman of the subcommittee on contracting oversight in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The GSA has no policies to freeze bonuses to employees under investigation by the IG, according to the release.

The scrutiny of GSA came most heavily starting in April after an investigation by the IG revealed the agency spent more than $823,000 on a Las Vegas conference in 2010. Among the employees investigated was Public Buildings Service Region 9 Commission Jeff Neely, who received a $9,000 bonus despite being under investigation.

In a letter to Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry, McCaskill asked for information from 2008 to 2011 on bonuses awarded to all federal agencies, “including what actions OPM could take to ensure that bonuses that would otherwise be awarded to federal employees under investigation by the Inspector General are withheld pending the resolution of the investigation.”

McCaskill gave OPM a deadline of June 20 for the federal employee bonus information.

Appeared Here


Yemassee South Carolina Police Officer Capt. Gregory Alexander Arrested, Suspended, And Charged After $11,000 Goes Missing

May 26, 2012

YEMASSEE, SOUTH CAROLINA — A police captain from the Lowcountry community of Yemassee has been suspended without pay after being charged with talking almost $11,000 seized in police traffic stops.

The Beaufort Gazette reports town officials were notified this week that Capt. Gregory Alexander had been charged with one count of misconduct in office and two counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent.

He says he has full faith and confidence in the officer and that the matter will be resolved.

Police Chief Jack Hagy said the charges follow a State Law Enforcement Division investigation. Investigators say the money came from traffic stops in 2009 and 2010.

Hagy says the department is standing by Alexander. He says he has full faith and confidence in the officer and that the matter will be resolved. A phone number for Alexander could not be located.

Appeared Here

Former Calumet County Wisconsin Prosecutor Ken Kratz Not Charged After Racy Text Messages To Domestic Assault Victim – More Than A Dozen Woman Reported Sexual Assault And Misconduct

March 28, 2011

MADISON, WISCONSIN –  A former prosecutor accused of sending racy text messages to a domestic abuse victim is not going to face criminal charges, the Wisconsin Justice Department announced Monday.

State investigators looked into allegations from more than a dozen women that former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz committed sexual assault and misconduct in office, the department said.

“His conduct appears to fit the connotation of ‘misconduct’ and demonstrates inappropriate behavior but does not satisfy the elements required to prosecute,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Tom Storm, who led the investigation.

Kratz’s attorney, Robert Bellin, said he was pleased with the decision. He said his office is investigating whether people lied to hurt Kratz.

“I think it’s obviously the right decision,” Bellin said of the decision not to file charges. “I don’t think we were that worried about it. We think that there were statements from individuals who came forward who were not completely truthful.”

Kratz resigned from his $105,000 per year position in October after The Associated Press reported he had sent 30 text messages to a domestic abuse victim trying to strike up an affair while he prosecuted her ex-boyfriend on a strangulation charge. Kratz, who was 50 at the time, called 26-year-old Stephanie Van Groll “a hot nymph” and asked if she was “the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married DA.”

Van Groll complained to police and Kratz was removed from the case. The Justice Department investigated at the time but decided not to file charges. Kratz was instead ordered to self-report the messages to the Office of Lawyer Regulation, a separate state entity that reviews attorneys’ conduct. The office declined to discipline Kratz, saying he hadn’t violated any rules.

Pressure mounted on Kratz to resign after Van Groll’s allegations became public. Then-Gov. Jim Doyle began removal procedures against him and other people began coming forward with accusations. The Justice Department and the lawyer regulation office both reopened investigations.

The Justice Department on Monday released its case summary, which said 15 women, including Van Groll, filed complaints against Kratz.

Appeared Here

Niles Michigan Police Officer Ivery Cross Arrested, Charged With Misconduct

March 27, 2011

NILES, MICHIGAN – A Niles City Police Department officer is currently under investigation by the Michigan State Police, Paw Paw Post, for misconduct while on duty, according to Police Chief Ric Huff of the Niles City Police Department.


Though the department has not released the officer’s name, the Star was able to confirm the officer arrested as Ivery Cross.

The Niles City Police Department says it is fully cooperating with the state police investigation and is conducting a thorough internal investigation into the matter.

Cross was taken into custody Friday afternoon by the Michigan State Police and his police authority has been suspended. Cross’ arraignment in court is expected to occur on Monday in the Berrien County Trial Court.

According to the release, the department is unable to release any further information about the possible charges or alleged misconduct until Cross’ appearance in court, as the investigation is ongoing.

The release stated it was with great regret that the Niles City Police Department must submit the release, having dedicated and hard working women and men and this officer’s alleged actions should not reflect negatively on their dedication to this community.

Detective First Lieutenant Charles A. Christensen, Michigan State Police, is acting as lead investigator in the matter.

According to the official posting for Cross’s arrival to the department, the officer is a NilesHigh School graduate and a graduate of Kalamazoo Valley Community College Police Academy.

Appeared Here

Niles Michigan Police Officer Arrested For Misconduct

March 26, 2011

NILES, MICHIGAN – Michigan State Police arrested a Niles city police officer Friday in connection with charges of police misconduct, Niles police said.

The officer, whose name was not released, was taken into custody by Michigan State Police, Paw Paw Post, in lieu of an investigation into misconduct while on duty, Niles City Police Chief Richard A. Huff said in a statement.

Huff cited a pending investigation as the reason why details of the charges were not released.

The Niles City Police Department is fully cooperating with the State Police investigation and is conducting a thorough internal investigation into the matter, Huff said in a statement.

The officer has been suspended. He is expected to be arraigned Monday at Berrien County Trial Court.

Appeared Here

St. Petersburg Florida Police Department Loses Officers Due To Relationship With Teen Girl, Firing Issued Shotgun “Accidentally”, Lying, Cuffing A Child To A Bed

June 3, 2010

ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – Two officers about to be fired by the St. Petersburg Police Department resigned on Wednesday. Another was reprimanded for cuffing his unruly preteen son to a bed.

One officer quit because he was about to be fired for lying in connection to his relationship with a 17-year-old girl, police said. Another resigned before he was fired for a series of errors, the last of which was accidentally firing his city-issued shotgun.

• Chad McLaren, who resigned Wednesday after 15 months on the job, faced allegations of making “conflicting” and “false” statements to his superiors.

In March, police said, McLaren, 27, started a relationship with a 17-year-old girl. They texted up to 50 times a day, according to an internal report. Police said it was unclear what kind of relationship they were in.

McLaren became involved in disputes the 17-year-old was having with her teen ex-boyfriend and other youths. The ex-boyfriend’s mother complained to the department in April about McLaren.

McLaren was ordered not to have contact with anyone involved in the case. But his superiors said he gave conflicting statements about who he knew and who he contacted. He also ran checks on people using official police databases, the report states. The probationary officer was about to be terminated, police said.

• Officer Adrian Owens resigned Wednesday after 17 months on the force. An internal report states he accidentally fired a shotgun round in the department parking lot while trying to clear the weapon. Owens, 32, had already been disciplined four times, police said, and was on the verge of being fired when he resigned.

• Officer James Griffis Jr., a 20-year veteran, received a temporary written reprimand for cuffing his son in March.

The officer restrained the child, police said, because the boy was disrespectful and unruly. When the child threatened to run away, the father tried to cuff him to the bed, police said. The child flailed his arms, striking the father in the face with the cuffs. The father cuffed the son and called for his mother to come get him.

Prosecutors investigated but decided nothing criminal occurred. The Department of Children and Families determined it was an “isolated incident.” Griffis, 44, used “poor judgment” restraining the child with city equipment, the report states.

Appeared Here

Department Of Justice Investigated After Botched Case And Kangaroo Trial Of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens – Gross Misconduct

April 5, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – The bungled trial of former GOP Sen. Ted Stevens tainted more than just the Justice Department. It probably tipped the balance of a close election, and the fallout from that is far from over.

Stevens, the 85-year-old patriarch of Alaska politics, is headed to court Tuesday, when a judge is expected to grant Attorney General Eric Holder’s request to dismiss the case and toss out Stevens’ conviction.

Within the department, the Stevens case could have far-ranging implications. The prosecution team, including the top two officials in the public integrity section, faces an internal investigation.

The FBI has 2,500 pending corruption investigations across the country, and whether the targets are lawmakers or suspected crooked government inspectors, prosecutors may be more cautious in bringing charges after the Stevens debacle.

A jury convicted Stevens of lying about gifts and home renovations provided by an Alaska businessman.

Stevens beat the charges, but lost his job. In that, he’s not alone.

In Puerto Rico last year, prosecutors filed a new indictment against Democratic Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila three months before the election. He lost the race, but a jury found him not guilty of all charges.

The prosecution “certainly smacked of political motivation,” argued Acevedo’s lawyer, Thomas Green.

Such accusations are not new from defense lawyers in corruption cases. But they have far more bite when the politicians charged ultimately win in court after having lost their careers.

In Wisconsin in 2006, prosecutors indicted a little-known state worker for allegedly helping contributors to Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle get a contract. The worker, Georgia Thompson, was sentenced to prison two months before the election.

After the election – which Doyle won – an appeals court not only overturned her conviction, but ordered her immediately freed from prison. One appeals court judge described the evidence against Thompson as “beyond thin.”

During the Bush administration, Democrats claimed the conviction of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was pushed by politically minded Republicans.

Siegelman, who was sent to prison in 2007 for bribery and corruption, was freed last year on bond. An appeals court recently dismissed some, but not all the charges and ordered him resentenced. His lawyer is asking the attorney general to toss out the case entirely, just like in the Stevens case.

Holder, a former corruption prosecutor, is also facing calls to overhaul the public integrity section.

In announcing his decision on Stevens, he said the department “must always ensure that any case in which it is involved is handled fairly and consistent with its commitment to justice.”

Joseph diGenova, a former federal prosecutor, said federal prosecutors suffer from “a lack of supervision.”

“I’m a great fan of prosecutors, but the department and the U.S. attorneys offices in my opinion have been out of control,” diGenova said.

In Stevens’ case, Holder decided to pull the plug after prosecutors withheld notes of an interview with a crucial witness. The notes would have contradicted damaging testimony the witness gave against Stevens.

To diGenova, it was one of the worst examples of prosecutors caring more about winning a case than finding justice, and further proof of what he called incredible arrogance of many lawyers in the department.

“This was, in essence, a framing of a senator. That doesn’t mean he’s pure as the driven snow, but they were going to convict him no matter what,” the lawyer said. “They changed the balance of power in the United States Senate. That ought to be a crime.”

Stevens was the longest-serving Republican in Senate history. A week before the 2008 election, a jury found him guilty on seven felony counts of lying on Senate financial disclosure forms to conceal hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and home renovations from a wealthy oil contractor.

After the conviction, Stevens lost to Democrat Mark Begich by fewer than 4,000 votes. Begich has rejected calls from Alaska Republicans, including Gov. Sarah Palin, for him to resign in order to have a new election for the seat.

When he took the job of attorney general, Holder pledged to remove any political considerations from the department’s work after a slew of investigations into alleged partisan meddling during the Bush years.

Those accusations were initially driven by the firings of nine U.S. attorneys in late 2006, and culminated with the ouster of Alberto Gonzales as attorney general.

Yet it was the Republican administration that filed the case against the Republican Stevens, and it was their Democratic successors who dropped it.

Appeared Here