Investigative Group

EXCLUSIVE: Federal Attorneys Created A Secret VA ‘Forum Of Hate’

Dissident Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials created a digital “Forum of Hate” (FOH) using highly offensive email texts against an agency whose upper management they viewed as worried only about getting bonuses for themselves and whose workforce they considered degraded by excessive Affirmative Action hiring.

The high-level employees on the FOH included attorneys, administrative law judges (ALJs) and managers who sent dozens of inflammatory emails per day using their government email accounts, then complained about how they had to work late.

The previously unreported emails occurred in 2015, according to a draft report prepared by the inspector general (IG). A copy was obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group, but the employees’ names were redacted.

Posters on the FOH compared Board of Veterans Affairs (BVA) compared “leadership sexual organs to a food product,” and said “ni–ers just gotta nig,” according to the same report. They called an obese black female VA supervisor “G-POT”— G is a prefix used by status-obsessed rappers, and POT because they said she looked like a hippopotamus.

A year after the forum members were caught — and VA took credit for disciplining them — two ALJs have yet to be disciplined because their cases remain unresolved by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), a VA official told TheDCNF. One of the attorneys involved with the FOH retired and another resigned.

“G-POT probably takes notes of who usually stays late before leaving at 3pm and then tips off some thug cousin that some prospective rape ‘n’ rob victims are to be had that evening,” wrote a poster.

“Want G-POT to work her whole tour? Staple gun some chicken wings to the walls of her office. Make them high up so she needs to work for them,” another responded.

They altered a picture of an employee receiving an award to say “certificate good for one big bag of weed and an eight ball of coke.”

A man walks past the headquarters building at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC, May 23, 2014. Larry Downing/Reuters

A man walks past the headquarters building at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC, May 23, 2014. Larry Downing/Reuters

When VA leadership rolled out an initiative called ICARE, a FOH forum member wrote: “I’m happy to take it, bc I don’t care and this reminds me to care… hollow training/waste of time.”

Another manager who participated in the FOH warned other posters occasionally, writing about a complaint about overtime. “Do you really want to try to document staying late on a day you sent about a thousand emails not related to work?”

A different manager told them to “build a wall” that separated work from personal email, but other members responded with 60 emails in the next two days mocking him for a “PC agenda with this non-VA email bulls–t.”

Some of them used the email list to rail against management despite their positions as managers, then claimed they didn’t know they were managers. “I guess I’m quasi supervisor I guess,” one told the IG when it demanded they explain the emails.

Some of their complaints were not entirely unfounded. In 2014, for example, BVA Senior Counsel Kelli Kordich told Congress she was “appalled and saddened by the unchecked mismanagement [and] corruption” and listed managers who she said took part in misconduct or had poor performance but “were not disciplined, but rather were rewarded by bonuses.”

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BVA Vice Chairman Laura Eskenazi was transferred to a different job after she tried to steer a major contract to her husband’s company and lied about it to investigators.

 

“In August and September of 2016, the MSPB conducted hearings on the Department’s recommendations.  Those proceedings are still pending with the MSPB,” he said. He said the third attorney was suspended without pay, but did not say for how long.

Twenty-three percent of the VA’s workforce is black, nearly double the percentage of the general population. The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) claimed in 2016 that proposed legislation in Congress to make it easier to fire poorly performing federal employees amounted to racism, because so many VA employees are minorities. The AFGE president has made similar accusations against President Donald Trump’s hiring freeze for the federal workforce.

One of the posters joked in one message: “Can’t wait for these FOH emails to be published.”

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