The Daily Caller has reported that two employees at a Veterans Affairs facility in Puerto Rico were fired this week after months-long investigations into their extraordinary corruption. Both were finally given the boot within a week of former Secretary Bob McDonald leaving his position.
One was the Puerto Rican V.A. Hospital’s CEO, DeWayne Hamlin, who was arrested on drug charges and offered an employee $305,000 to keep facts about the case quiet.
Paperwork obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation shows that bosses at the facility told Rosayma Lopez that she was being terminated for failing to fabricate a story about another employee by the name of Joseph Colon. Colon is responsible for exposing Hamlin’s arrest that happened because he was drunk driving in Florida at 3 AM and in possession of pills that he had no prescription for.
Hamlin being caught with prescription drugs that he was not legally in possession of would signal a huge ethics violation for the V.A. in which he worked. In order to try to skirt a violation, ethics officials at the facility offered to pay her to help cover up the story, but she refused.
Lopez was offered $305,000 of taxpayer funding which, if she had accepted, would have been the largest settlement in recent V.A. history.
The other individual at the Puerto Rico V.A. to be fired was Elizabeth Rivera, who continued to work despite being arrested for armed robbery.
The DCNF broke the story about the employee having been arrested after it first happened, but VA officials told Congress that it wasn’t true that she was still continuing to work and that Rivera had been fired. However, those administrators later backtracked their claim and said that it was actually impossible to terminate employees for crimes they committed outside of work.
After much back and forth on the issue, Rivera was finally fired on Tuesday for misconduct.
Though former Secretary McDonald has left, incoming V.A. Secretary David Shulkin has yet to take his post. With these firings being seemingly pushed off until Trump took office, some hope that this is an indication of the future under the Trump administration that the Department of Veteran Affairs will continue to fire unfit or unsatisfactory employees as needed.