Top Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs staffs resign after scandal

| May 15, 2019

An IndyStar investigation exposed the possible misuse of more than $800,000.

Three top employees at the Indiana Department of Veterans’ Affairs have resigned in the wake of an IndyStar investigation into the possible abuse of funds intended for needy veterans.

And in a separate development, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry has opened an investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing at the agency.

The resignations are part of a reorganization effort led by the agency’s new director, Dennis Wimer, who has pledged to restore confidence in the IDVA after a series of IndyStar stories exposed the possible misuse of more than $800,000.

The resigning employees — Deputy Director Matthew Vincent, Communications Director Adryanne Bonner and Director of Employment and Veteran Outreach Jeff Wirt — either approved or received grants or welfare benefits administered by the agency.

A criminal investigation launched

In addition to the personnel changes, a spokeswoman for Curry acknowledged Tuesday that the office has launched an investigation to determine whether any laws were broken.

The probe comes as a surprise because Indiana Inspector General Lori Torres had suggested in a report last month that prosecutors had reviewed her office’s investigation and agreed with her assessment that there was insufficient evidence for criminal charges.

Curry’s office now says it is conducting its own review.

“We did not formally decline prosecution and have opened an investigation into the matter,” said Curry’s chief of staff, Peg McLeish.

“The only thing we had before this report was very informal conversations,” she said.

She said there is no time frame for the investigation.

Stephanie McFarland, a spokeswoman for the inspector general’s office, defended the IG report’s assertion that prosecutors found insufficient evidence to support criminal charges. She said “that was the viewpoint expressed to the OIG agent at the time this specific finding was presented.”

“The prosecutor, however, is always free to reevaluate,” she said.

3 managers leaving IDVA

As for the personnel shakeup, Vincent, the agency’s No. 2 and former acting director, resigned early last week in a letter to Gov. Eric Holcomb. A Marine veteran, Vincent had approved some of the grants that drew scrutiny in a state audit last year. His final day will be May 31.

Also stepping down is Communications Director Adryanne Bonner, who previously managed the agency’s federal welfare program.

“At this time, I am submitting my letter of resignation so that the agency can move forward to positively impact and regain the trust of veterans,” Bonner wrote May 6 to Wimer.

IndyStar had reported that Bonner and her boyfriend — both veterans — had received more than $10,000 in benefits, including child care and a couple’s retreat at French Lick Resort and Casino. She earns a salary of $51,000.

Director of Employment Jeff Wirt, an Iraq war veteran, submitted his resignation letter on the same day as Bonner. Wirt earns nearly $50,000 a year but received $3,600 in military relief grants for expenses that included new tires and vehicle repairs, IndyStar found. Other veterans — including a woman living in a camper with her two children — were capped at $2,500 and denied benefits for similar expenses.

Wirt’s final day is June 14, according to his resignation letter.

The departures follow that of former Director Jim Brown, who resigned in Decemberjust one week after IndyStar’s initial story.

In an email Thursday informing veterans’ affairs commissioners about the resignations, Wimer praised the employees for their “passion for serving veterans” and wished them well.

State officials did not immediately address whether any of the employees would be offered jobs at other state agencies.

Seems that we might need to do a few FOIA’s on some of these people.  You know, cause we just want to support their “Passion for serving veterans” and all.

Gosh, I sure hope they get some other cush gubbermint job where they can scam some money on the side.

Source: Top Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs staffs resign after scandal

Category: Crime, Exploitation

Comments (10)

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  1. Daisy Cutter says:

    He “needed” tires and vehicle repairs, doesn’t that make him a “needy” veteran?

  2. 5th/77th FA says:

    “…some other cush gubbermint job…”

    Maybe they can hire on at the BTJ&T Deli as taste testers. Or Brucie may could use some greeters/towel fluffers at the bath house. (entrance in the rear)

    Scum!

  3. 3/10/MED/b says:

    …Aaaand they have all been re-assigned to VA facilities where?

    • Hondo says:

      Different agencies. The IDVA is an Indiana state agency. The Federal DVA is, well, Federal.

      The Federal government – and the VA in particular – do their share of screwing up from time to time. But this isn’t one of those times.

  4. Ex-PH2 says:

    Are we going to see any of them at the corner of Lincoln and Touhy holding up signs with “Homeless Veteran – Please Help – God Bless”?

  5. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Cocksuckers…

  6. After seeing what is going on with the va, I’m glad that they wouldn’t accept me after I retired in 2007 (not from the Mil) and was on Cobra at the time.

  7. 26Limabeans says:

    Scandal at the VA?
    Reminds me of this guy:

    https://valorguardians.com/blog/?p=65892

    The Valor Vulture tab is a gold mine.
    Wish it had a search feature.

  8. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. I say throw them in jail and let Bubba, Thor, Julio and “Tiny Tyrone” straighten their asses out, knowhutimean?

  9. 1SG Eazy E says:

    I know two of the people in this article, the former Director, Jim Brown (CSM ret) and the Communications Director, Adryanne Bonner. Jim Brown was/is a real combat vet from Vietnam with the 101st through an AFG deployment before his retirement. Bonner was a 42A Admin Specialist at the 38th ID Headquarters. All of these people absolutely knew better, but did it anyway. I was quite surprised when they did not fire them in the first place. Pretty GD sad that these folks were all “hooking each other up” with grant money and everything else. Unfortunately for Mr. Brown, everyone will forget all of the great things he did and only remember how he failed as a leader to control an office full of scammers..