Corruption, Incompetence Scandal at DOJ's Ferguson Unit Widens
According to one of the complaints, a director based in New York, Reinaldo Rivera, who is of Puerto Rican descent, scheduled excessive trips to Puerto Rico, similar to the personal travel of other directors on the taxpayer’s dime. When this was reported, said our sources, he was allowed to work from home for over a year with no responsibilities. In other words, he remained employed by CRS and got a paid vacation -- courtesy of taxpayers.
Another director, Harpreet Mokha, is unqualified for his position because he has no experience in mediation, conciliation, alternative dispute resolution, or strategic communication, our sources say. They also assert that Mokha mismanaged CRS’s response to the Baltimore riots and neglected basic administrative tasks until staff badgered him to do so. These sources claim that, until recently, he averaged only a couple of hours in the office per week.
In fact, these sources say that CRS’s activities appear to be geared towards trying to improve its own public image “rather than to improve the situation in Baltimore.”
The sources also revealed that at least one of the managers has had an “inappropriate relationship” with a supervisor, who allowed that manager to get away with travel fund abuse, “time card fraud, harassment of employees,” and even the termination of a contractor who “questioned” the manager’s time sheet.
This relationship wasn’t a secret inside the agency; the sources say CRS’s general counsel is well aware of it.
Rather than addressing these issues, Deputy Director of CRS Gilbert Moore has approved allowing his regional directors to use government travel funds for personal travel.
Numerous employee complaints have been filed against him, and our sources say he transfers employees “rather than address systemic bullying and mismanagement when brought to his attention.”
The complaints are not just coming from a few disgruntled employees. Apparently, a substantial number of the staff of CRS has filed numerous complaints, culminating in letters being sent to the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and Carolyn Lerner at the Office of Special Counsel.
These letters say that conditions are so bad that they “collectively and individually prevent agency efficiency and effectiveness.” In other words, the CRS can’t do the job it’s supposed to do.
These problems have been brought to the attention of Director of CRS Grande Lum and Deputy Director Gilbert Moore “numerous times via phone conversations as well as numerous statements written by staff to no avail.”
The letters complain that it has become “routine” at CRS to transfer any employees who complain about management abuse “to other regions while protecting management”; to continue to hang on to “excess empty office space at a great cost to taxpayers”; and to refuse to “address the misuse of federal funds by some Regional Directors for personal travel.”
The complaint about excess office space is confirmed by a video provided by the sources that shows large expanses of empty office space in CRS offices in different parts of the country where the agency only has a few employees.
American taxpayers are paying for that, too.