Did VA Officials Encourage Employees to Pay To Talk to Dead People?
Party at official's home allegedly featured a working medium – who also happened to be married to one of the bosses.
Data manipulation and mismanagement of the mail at the Veterans Affairs Department’s regional office in Philadelphia apparently isn’t bad enough. Managers at the facility also are allegedly encouraging employees to pay to talk to dead people.
Lucy Filipov, assistant director of VA’s Philadelphia Regional Office, allegedly threw a party at her house that included Gary Hodge, head of the pension management center, his wife, and several employees. So far, okay. Except Hodge’s wife professed to be a medium who could help the living commune with the dead. And the invited guests (employees) allegedly were encouraged to pay her $30 each for that experience. Soliciting money from subordinates in the federal government is a no-no.
That gem was among the many disturbing and hard-to-believe stories that emerged during a Wednesday congressional hearing on problems at Veterans Benefits Administration facilities in Philadelphia, Pa., and Oakland, Calif. But tales of the alleged “medium” and “fortune-telling” party were certainly the most entertaining.
Filipov was at the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on Wednesday, and Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., asked her directly about the supernatural soiree. She said she was told by an employee of the inspector general’s office that she could not discuss the matter as it is “part of an ongoing investigation.” Miller reminded her she was under oath, and that he planned to ask Linda Halliday, assistant IG for audits and evaluations at VA, if that were the case. Fortunately for Miller, Halliday was only a few feet away from Filipov. Halliday said she needed to look into this probe as she didn’t know about it, and wasn’t sure the IG conducted such administrative investigations.
Doesn’t the VA IG have enough to do these days? Especially since the department hasn’t had a permanent inspector general in more than 400 days (Deputy IG Richard Griffin is acting IG).
Miller is expecting a straight answer from Filipov when she’s cleared to talk. Right now, many VA employees would probably prefer chatting with the dead over being grilled by the living.
(Image via Stuart Monk / Shutterstock.com)