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Rule of Law

Government Graft, Corruption, and Retaliation in Democrat-Run Virginia

August 17th, 2013 - 1:54 pm

Big wasteful government isn’t only a federal phenomenon.  And if you’re an honest government employee in the city of Alexandria in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., you better watch out.  Because if you “blow the whistle” on inappropriate, unethical, or improper government spending, your bosses will retaliate and fire you for speaking up on behalf of the tax-payers.  

All across America, billions of taxpayer dollars are wasted or mismanaged by local governments because of little to no government transparency or accountability.  Alexandria, Virginia, provides an example of why.

Ironically, local government, which is arguably the “closest to the people,” is in many ways shielded and protected from public scrutiny and questioning.  Only a select few who either work in local government or watch the actions of their local representatives closely catch these cases of waste, fraud, and abuse. Their stories are often ignored because the media is more drawn to high-profile cases at the state and federal levels.

Take the case of former Alexandria city architect Henry Lewis. 

As the project manager on one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken by the city of Alexandria, Lewis was responsible for “watching the dollars.”  Building a high-tech police headquarters, estimated to cost roughly $80 million plus another $20 million for furnishings, required the oversight of a skilled and experienced project manager, and Lewis was handpicked by top city officials to lead the project.

The Howard University-educated architect was a diligent project manager who worked to ensure that this massive project came in on time and on budget and he excelled at this role, receiving several sterling performance reviews and even a pay raise.

However, things began to change after “Director of General Services” Jeremy McPike got involved.

mcpike

Jeremy McPike

Jeremy McPike, as a top government bureaucrat in Alexandria’s “Department of General Services,” was ultimately responsible for oversight of the project.  As McPike took the reins, Lewis started to notice that Whiting-Turner, the contractor, began submitting suspect invoices for materials stored off-site which hadn’t been verified to actually exist.  They started to bill extra for work that should have been covered by the original contract. 

McPike became actively involved in approving these invoices for phantom materials—totaling over $2 million.

One of the invoices that Lewis questioned was for a substantial sum of money and had been post-dated by McPike a week in the future. But time and again, Lewis’ concerns were silenced and McPike approved invoices and change orders over his project manager’s professional objections.

Refusing to sign his name to fraudulent activity, Lewis made his suspicions known to his superiors. 

That’s when things got really bad for Henry Lewis. 

McPike was enraged that Lewis had gone “above his head” to report this suspicious activity.  He became personally abusive and began to maneuver to get Lewis to resign his position with the city. 

Because Lewis continued to push back against these improper invoices, McPike ultimately took action to have Lewis fired by the city.   Henry Lewis has since sued Jeremy McPike and the city of Alexandria, citing Virginia’s whistle-blower statute, which was passed to protect genuine watchdogs of public tax dollars  

But whistleblowers shouldn’t have to go to court to protect the taxpayer.

During the recent Circuit Court proceedings, evidence was introduced that clearly showed that, on numerous occasions, McPike attempted to intimidate and force Lewis to sign off on improper invoices from a contractor the government employee McPike favored.  The trial detailed how McPike verbally abused and threatened Lewis with termination.  

In collaboration with Whiting-Turner, who was tired of dealing with Lewis’ unwillingness to simply “rubber stamp” all invoices, Henry Lewis was fired and thrown to the curb.  In a parting and spiteful insult to Lewis, McPike and Alexandria refused to place Lewis’ name on a plaque, an honor always extended to the project manager and architect.

To Henry Lewis’ credit, a jury found that Lewis had been wrongfully terminated under anti-retaliation provisions of the Virginia Fraud against Taxpayers Act, a law passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2011, and was awarded back pay, benefits, and legal fees.  And it should be no surprise that city of Alexandria officials have announced their intention to appeal the Circuit Court’s decision to the Virginia Court of Appeals and continue their harassment of the whistleblower Henry Lewis.

But has there been any outrage about McPike by elected officials in Alexandria?  Has the dishonest government official been fired?  Do the citizens of Alexandria even know or care?

No, no, and no.

Has the paper of record for Alexandria, the Washington Post, covered the story of millions of dollars in waste?  No, again.

The Washington Post was too busy covering the tight space for animals at a local shelter and seeking public input on “building the most insane cheeseburger.”

Nothing but buns and circuses at the Post when Democrat-run cities have massive graft and corruption.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Because the Black-run governments are pretty much universally corrupt and are untouchable. Stow your stupid sentimentality about race. The communists, excuse me, Democrats use the race angle to keep us from criticizing the corruption, see, e.g., Comrade Obama.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
This situation is just one aspect of a much larger problem, oversight of the $6T we spend on the government sector. Long before this construction project was started, we should have come up with procedures to build in to verify that such things are not done. For instance, taking pictures and getting GPS positions of where the stuff is supposed to be and giving an automatic 10% of the fine to the whistleblower who spots phantom inventory and reports it.

Telling a story gets people emotionally involved but it's established procedures and automated reports that are going to fix the problem.

www.citizenintelligence.org
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Democrats, especially Black Democrats, are good people.
Good people don't do bad things.
Therefore, the Black Democrats here didn't do bad things.

That's simple enough and everybody, especially every reporter, knows that there is no reason to peek under a Democrat, especially a Black Democrat's, skirt because they never do bad things and you're a racist for thinking they might.

My wife and I had long careers in government. All of mine and most of hers was spent at or a level or two below politically appointed management. We know how things worked and we know where bodies are buried. We also know very well how a couple so situated can live. When I look at the similarly situated couples who live significantly better than we did off government positions, one thing distinguishes those couples: one or both of them has procurement authority or authority over someone who has procurement authority. The gold standard for living well in a government job is to have procurement authority over road building or public facility construction. The silver standard is procurement authority over providing supplies and services to the government. Having the authority to hire people might get your tab picked up or make it easier to get laid but it pales in comparison to being able to decide which vendors and contractors get to put their hooves in the trough and how far.

If you're inside government in a place to see things, you know that Democrat and corrupt are synonyms; everything is pay to play in some form. But with Democrats it isn't all about just reaching in the till. They have a vast network of Democrat front groups and constituent groups that have to be fed, so Democrats with power steer money to their front groups. Departments of Labor, Education, Environment, and Health and Social Services are nothing more than money laundries to funnel money to Democrat front groups and companies and to give sinecures to Democrat activists.

Back in the '90s, the State Office Building in Juneau was starting to look like something out of the former Soviet Union; black mold stains on the exterior walls, moss, grass growing on the decks, so the Democrats in power first decided that any maintenance work done by the State now had to be done under Project Labor Agreements and at Davis-Bacon wages. Then a well-connected political appointee had a relative set up a construction and maintenance company which immediately upon its founding became signatory to the appropriate union contracts. They went through the charade of an RFP but the only question necessary was, "Is the name of your company ___ ?" So, of course, the company fronting for the appointee got the contract. I remember coming in the day the work started on the decks and finding that they had covered all the large windows with plywood to protect them during demolition. Normally, you'd use dunnage or very low-quality plywood, used forms, etc. for that kind of sheeting. But, no, they were using new, first quality, one A side, 3/4" tongue and groove plywood where they should have been using dunnage and I thought to myself, "who's building a new house and planning to use that plywood for subflooring or roof sheeting?"

My boss's boss oversaw wiring the whole government and procurement of all the servers, routers, desktops, the works for setting up the whole government network. He left his government job and went straight to work for the company he funnelled much of that money to, took his IT director with him, and never was heard a discouraging word. That same boss wrote a CYA memo to his boss in the Governor's office about paying off a union for its support by dropping a very important investigation of some of that union's members for improperly claiming residency premium pay. I just happened to acquire a copy of that memo and it just happened to find its way to the Anchorage Daily News. They did write a puff piece saying "bad, bad boys" about it but nothing came of it except the Administration was after me like the hounds of Hell. I'm better at that sort of stuff than they were so they never got me but it wasn't for lack of trying. Other than that one incident, there was never another mention of corruption or bad acts by that Administration in the whole eight years they were in office. Of course, when the Republicans took over afterwards, Governor Murkowski's hand was just coming off The Bible when the ADN first started screeching about corruption.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
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In Kentucky we do give the whistleblower a pecentage of the inapproipriate costs that he or she has exposed.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
How can you blame McPike? He is just the slave doing the masters bidding which
in this case is the Mayor. Look most all government is "corrupt" and short of executing these fools, there is nothing we can do about it AND THEY know it..sad, but true...
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Democrat run Virginia? Republican Governor, AG, and House. I also love how the author fails to mention that the Republican Governor is under criminal investigation.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah - he includes all Virginia, but his article is specifically about the city of Alexandria. Arlington is also very liberal and democrat run. As is most of Northern Virginia. This is why the state have elected obama, web and cain the last couple of elections. And why we can't get rid of Mark Warner.

The problem is Maryland. They tax rainwater and air - literally. So the people escape from the socialist hell they created and move south - which doesn't even affect their commute. They also bring their voting practices with them.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
You are correct that Virginia is mostly run by Republicans but they are FAR RIGHT Republicans.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
The are NOT far right republicans. You people have GOT to be insane.

Far right is anarchy - learn your ideology table:

communist-fascist-socialist//centrist//conservative-libertarian-anarchist

Left side is heavy on government involment and the right side diminishes government involvement.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
By this chart republicans are true centrists. They annoy everybody.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
"They annoy everybody. "

:D

Patriots always do, Miss Lolly! :)
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't we have a Conservative AG in Virginia and also an Inspector general?

As an adoptive Virginian who loves the Commonwealth I would like to know if any of them are being notified/ getting involved in this.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is about Alexandria - can they get involved in city politics?
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think they can, but it's like the old story about the mule trainer. "First, you have to get their attention."

This is probably below their radar.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
After seeing Eulie's picture there is only response to this calumny. Racist!!!
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Who would expect the WaPo to report on Democrat corruption? Nobody. It would actually have to be a newspaper for that to happen.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is still useful on fishmonger shops around Good Friday.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just so you know - nobody reads the WaPo anymore.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...and seeking pubic input..."

(Resists urge to make bad, puerile joke)

Might want to fix that. :)
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
No political party has a monopoly on corruption. Whistleblowers endanger themselves and their families when they come forward. A conscience becomes a liability for all involved in a deeply corrupt organization. Proper survival technique would involve securing alternative employment prior to anonymous reports to those who might set things right. Lately, this might have to be done on a park bench in secret.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, it looks like Edward Snowden is a hero after all. So if the fourth amendment prohibits government conducting "fishing expeditions" without probable cause based on a truthful oath and affirmation before a judge (which Holder has apparently violated on occasion), why should its digital data archiving of everyone by the national security state be allowed just because you waived your right to privacy with a private internet service provider? In other words, why shouldn't E mail be treated the same way as the public snail mail, or is that just another 18th century archaic bias based on misplaced post colonial irrational fears of those European absolutest states before the glorious progressive era? How much do you want to bet the government all ready "knows" the contents of Lois Learner's private E mail and all that off the books IRS skulduggery that the oversight committee is trying to gain access too? In saying that I don't mean to imply the NSA is going to make whistle blowing and acts of terror and future Edward Snowdens a thing of the past. Apparently the total surveillance state, garbage in garbage out, really means the total paralysis of infinite analysis of all those permutations and combinations of stuff that somehow managed to miss Edward Snowden and apparently every terrorist attack since 9/ll.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
?


Methinks you posted in the wrong column, Don.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
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