Acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini asks staffers to contact his office with concerns

10:27 PM, Apr 13, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - The General Services Administration issued its own plea for whistleblowers 90 minutes after a wusa9.com story asked General Services Administration workers to call the 9 Wants to Know investigative team with tips.

Meantime, Republican lawmakers released details of a Hawaii trip where a whisteblower says GSA officials stayed five to seven days in 2011 to attend an hour -long ribbon cutting.

Last week Administrator Martha Johnson resigned and seven others were either fired or placed on administrative leave after a lavish, $823,000 Las Vegas convention.

"The Las Vegas conference was the tip of the iceberg, and every new example demonstrates the mind-boggling culture of waste and blatant disregard for the taxpayers' money within GSA," said U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-FL), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. wusa9.com published a story asking GSA employees and members of the public to contact the 9 Wants to Know investigative team to identify corruption and waste within the agency.

At 1:00 p.m., Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini issued a letter to GSA staff asking them to contact agency officials with concerns.

"If you see something that doesn't seem right to you, please discuss it with your colleagues, your supervisor, or higher levels in the organization," Tangherlini said in the letter issued after the WUSA article. "We will not tolerate any retaliatory actions against
anyone who raises concerns."

The Acting Administrator also told GSA employees they could contact the Inspector General who exposed the Las Vegas scandal with their concerns.

The following is a transcript of the whistleblower who told the Inspector General about the weeklong Hawaii trip for the hour-long ribbon cutting, according to Mica:

GSA employee: ... And it was just one of those trips where, I think [redacted] left on a Saturday and returned on a Friday, you know, give or take a day here or a day there for a one-hour ribbon cutting ceremony on a lease space.
IG's office: That was the official reason?
GSA employee: That was the official reason, yeah.
GSA employee: You know, I just -- I heard stories, you know, going snorkeling in the morning and things like that...
IG's office: Okay. Now this last trip where five GS-15s flew over with [redacted] for this lease property ribbon-cutting for the FBI office, five to seven days, five 15s.
GSA employee: Oh, yeah, yeah, seven, yeah, five to seven. Yeah, I don't know what the other people's calendar's looked like.
IG's office: And they were I'm sure working hard the whole time.
GSA employee: I doubt it.
IG's office: How often do those happen?
GSA employee: The Hawaii things probably, it seems like they're fairly frequent. I mean, [redacted]'s got another one schedule [sic] for October.

IG's office: Okay.

GSA employee: And [redacted]'s going to be there for like ten days. It's a ribbon-cutting for the Hilo federal building, which is about -- it's an old post office and courthouse maybe.

9 Wants to Know is asking anyone with information about waste and corruption at GSA to contact Investigative Reporter Russ Ptacek at rptacek@wusa9.com. You can also follow @russptacek on Twitter.

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