GSA Official accused of squandering taxpayer money in lavish birthday celebration
Las Vegas conference rings up $823,000 tab
"Its yo birthday....We gonna pawty like iz yo birthday!" The above
tweet, from General Services Administration regional executive Jeffrey
Neely's wife, appears to be a call to celebrate. What is the issue?
Neely was on a 17-day trip on official business earlier this year, from
Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. There were lavish parties, hotels rooms and
fancy restaurant meals - all on the taxpayer's dime. Brought up on
charges, Neely has pleaded the Fifth in court.
General Services Administration regional executive Jeffrey Neely shares visual evidence in a photo collection on his wife's Google+ page. There visitors can see photos of Neely staying in a luxurious suite at the M Resort Spa & Casino in November 2009, during one of the eight scouting and off-site pre-conference meetings to prepare for the October 2010 conference.
Expectedly, lawmakers expressed outrage over junkets, bonuses and parties paid for by taxpayers. There were also questions over $823,000 paid for at a Las Vegas conference in October 2010.
In addition, the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee asked about trips to the South Pacific, the Napa Valley wine country and to Las Vegas to plan for the October conference.
"Every time we turned over a stone we found 50 more with all kinds of things crawling out," Inspector General Brian Miller said.
Miller said 115 electronic devices purchased for GSA prize ceremonies were missing, and one was traced to a daughter of Neely. Other trips were taken, many by Neely and his wife, including a nine-day trip to Hawaii.
A General Services Administration official refused to answer questions at a congressional hearing into an $823,000 Las Vegas conference criticized by lawmakers and the Obama administration for wasting taxpayer money.
The conference included breakfasts with a price tag of $44 a person, more than triple the $12-a-person government allowance for Las Vegas, according to the report.
Neely is scheduled to testify before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this week.
Brian Miller, the GSA inspector general whose report brought the matter to public attention, told the committee he has asked the Department of Justice to consider criminal charges.
Dan Tangherlini, the new acting administrator for GSA, told lawmakers he had canceled 35 GSA conferences in response to the report, "saving taxpayers $995,686." Tangherlini reassured others that he would work closely with Miller to recover money spent at the Las Vegas conference, which included a mind reader, a clown and a $75,000 bicycle-building exercise.
President Barack Obama was "outraged by the excessive spending, questionable dealings with contractors and disregard for taxpayer dollars," Jacob Lew, White House chief of staff, said in an e-mailed statement earlier this month.
Seemingly adding insult to injury, Neely shares visual evidence in a photo collection on his wife's Google+ page. There visitors can see photos of Neely staying in a luxurious suite at the M Resort Spa & Casino in November 2009, during one of the eight scouting and off-site pre-conference meetings to prepare for the October 2010 conference.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: GSA, graft, hotel rooms, lavish parties, bonuses, prizes, corruption
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