Carter ‘shocked, outraged’ after Statesman report on Temple VA abuses


U.S. Rep. John Carter sent a letter to Department of Veterans Affairs Director David Shulkin on Monday demanding answers regarding findings of abuse of veterans, equipment theft, abuse of power and potential financial crimes at the VA’s Temple campus.

On Sunday, the American-Statesman detailed the results of an internal investigation into issues at the Temple VA’s motor pool and grounds crew, where investigators detailed years of mistreatment of veterans undergoing substance abuse treatment, as well a “complex scheme” to profit off of fraudulent purchase orders and questionable contracts.

READ: Investigation finds corruption, intimidation at Temple VA campus

Veterans in the VA’s Compensated Work Therapy program described being sent to the homes of high ranking VA officials to perform landscaping work. They also reported being forced to do odd jobs for supervisors and their family members on the Temple campus, such as car washing and auto repair, during work hours.

According to an administrative board’s preliminary report, which was obtained by the Statesman, employees at the motor pool had funneled business to a small Killeen firm that investigators said made at least $400,000 by padding purchases with 30 percent surcharges. In all, the report found, more than $1.3 million was “funneled through” the business, Whitetail Industrial Parts and Service, in recent years.

“I am shocked, outraged, and exasperated to hear of these issues, and I expect the VA to work quickly to right the wrongs done to our heroes,” Carter, a Round Rock Republican who represents the Temple area, wrote in a letter to VA Director David Shulkin and VA Inspector General Michael Missal. “According to media reports, many of the veterans that were subjected to this behavior were participating in a substance abuse rehabilitation program, and trying their best to get their lives back on track, only to be mistreated by the very people meant to help them. It is inexcusable.”

Carter demanded the VA send him copy of a “comprehensive final report” on the situation in Temple promptly, as well as a full briefing on “the VA’s plan of action to right the wrongs done to our veterans.”

Carter also praised the actions of newly appointed Central Texas top administrator Christopher Sandles, who launched the internal investigation shortly after hearing of complaints at the motor pool earlier this year.

“However, I must express my exasperation and outrage at the continuing problems plaguing our VA system, especially as it pertains to serving the veterans of the Central Texas area,” Carter wrote.

Two Temple VA employees no longer work at the VA following the internal investigation and local officials say the VA’s inspector general is investigating allegations involving financial misdeeds that could result in criminal charges.

One VA employee, Oarrin Nash, the motor pool supervisor, has confirmed in an interview with the Statesman that he has been fired. Nash denied any wrongdoing and said he had no knowledge of financial activities regarding Whitetail.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Police standoff Monday shuts down I-35 in New Braunfels, officials say 
Police standoff Monday shuts down I-35 in New Braunfels, officials say 

Both the north and southbound lanes of Interstate 35 near Schwab Road have been closed while New Braunfels police is engaged in standoff, causing major delays in the area, officials said Monday night.  The scene is still active, police said. No other details were immediately available.
Suspect in police chase, officer-involved shooting killed, police chief says 
Suspect in police chase, officer-involved shooting killed, police chief says 

11:30 p.m. update: A man who led officers on a police chase that ended in an officer-involved shooting was pronounced dead at the scene, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said Monday night.  Manley said the incident started at about 5:30 p.m. and took place across three different locations.  According to the preliminary investigation...
Manor residents allowed to return home after gas leak, officials say 
Manor residents allowed to return home after gas leak, officials say 

8:45 p.m. update: Residents who were evacuated after a gas leak at the 700 block of North Bastrop Street can now return to their homes, city officials said Monday night.  Officials gave the all clear at about 8:30 p.m. Utility technicians are currently at the location working on repairs, officials said.  Earlier: Manor police and firefighters...
Poll: George P. Bush and Sid Miller ahead but could face runoffs
Poll: George P. Bush and Sid Miller ahead but could face runoffs

Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller are both facing fluid races heading into the March 6 Republican primary, raising the possibility of being forced into runoff elections, according to the results of a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Monday. While poll results showed that Bush and Miller had more...
Four people vying for two seats on the Hutto City Council
Four people vying for two seats on the Hutto City Council

Four people have filed to run for two places on the Hutto City Council in the May election. Incumbent Thomas Hines, a firefighter, is seeking re-election for place 2 in the council. He’s running against Gay McMillan, an artist and writer. Two people are also running for the place 5 seat currently occupied by Lucio Valdez, who is not seeking re-election...
More Stories