Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Vets selling smokes at the vets home - the real story.

Selling smokes at Grand Rapids Home for Veterans - the real story.

Ok this is what we know happened at the home.

VA employee whose name I think is Tom Harrisson, went to NY to get non taxes smokes, and brought them back to Michigan. Some were given to contacts at other locations, some to Contact at GRHFV, Ken.

Ken ran the “store” from the smoking location outside of Kozy Corners. As expected, Ken being in a powered wheel chair, had to “run up” to his unit from time to time to get med’s and use the restroom.

Jeff, was a veteran who spent a lot of time sitting out in the smoking area. Ken got Jeff to “watch the store” while Ken was off running to use the can or get his meds. After a while Ken showed Jeff how to do things and paid him a small fee to sell smokes if someone wanted a pack or so, while Ken was out doing his thing.
John was also brought into it to further sell smokes.

Tony, whose medication put him on 12 hours different schedule, slept during the day and was up most of the night. In the morning hours he would sit out in the smoking area, and eventually ken got him to watch the store in the morning when ken had to make a meds run or bathroom run.

I do not believe Jeff or Tony were actively selling smokes outside the designated smoking area. John I am told, was selling to guys on his unit, who could not get down to that smoking area, due to its location at the far end of the complex.

After a while, something happened and Ken told everyone he had to keep things close, and not do it so openly. Apparently this is when Ken got written warning to stop selling smokes from the administration.

He did not tell the others that he got that warning. Nor has anyone shown me that they got the paperwork telling them to stop. So when the home reports that “they were told to stop”, I question, WHO was told to stop? Ken, or all 4 of them or who exactly. I think this is a misrepresentation by the home when they claim that all of them were informed.

Now I see this as 2 groups of people involved. The Administrators, and the workers. Tom and Ken were the administrators, who violated the law. The 3 helpers were just that. Helpers. They got brought into it.

In Michigan, it's illegal to sell a tobacco product to another person for resale without being licensed. And many of us did not know this until that was posed as part of a WZZM-13 news article on 19 Dec 2017.

Now understand most people do not know or believe that it is unlawful to sell a pack of smokes. To them it is no different than selling an apple, a pencil, a bottle of soda pop, or anything that is personal property; and they see the pack of smokes as personal property as they paid for them. 

We had guys “rolling” their own smokes, and then selling packs of 20 of them in little plastic baggies. Is that unlawful to do too? If so the AG could potentially have over 30 more cases just like this one.

Also, if the assistant AG Joel Froeleich knew everything that was going on at the home as he many times claimed, why didn’t he speak up and put a stop to this years ago? Understand this went on for about many years.

Now Ken was keeping books and records of who bought what, and how much they owed him, to keep track of the money. Proceeds went to paying for wireless internet because the home after all these years had little or no internet access for residents.
Also, Ken allowed guys to get smokes on credit, and they would pay him each month when they got their disability checks. A significant number of these veterans died owing Ken, and he wrote their bills off as a loss. He still made money just not very much of it.

Now the homes administration knew this was going on for months and did nothing. Then all of a sudden they decided to do something? Why? Policy change?

This whole thing is about a guy bringing in cheap smokes to a bunch of broken veterans, who had little or no money who wanted to have a smoke. Yes Harrison violated the law, and yes Ken may have knowingly violated the law, but those two are a separate issue. They knew what they were doing.  

The other 3 helpers, John, Jeff, Tony, were not involved in that decision and were brought into it later to help Ken. They have been punished by being discharged from the home, out to the street, (except for John who is still there) and advocates for the veterans had to help them find permanent safe housing. We just got the last one into proper housing on 15 Dec 2017.

So why this now? The veterans were under the understanding that their fate was left to the homes administration, who then proceeded to discharge them. They were also told if they ever did that again they would be prosecuted.

Now without warning, they are being prosecuted. Many believe this is because the Attorney General Bill Shuette has had several cases thrown out of court. His record at the Vets home is dismal. So far only 1 successful prosecution and that was because a news reporter found a video of a nurses aid shoving a veteran into a desk. If not for the news reporter, that conviction would have never happened.

Score ½ for the AG.

Several other cases covering improper reporting of bed checks at the home were thrown out of court by judges. 8 cases, 6 thrown out, 2 about to be thrown out.
So far, the AG’s office has failed to prosecute or even bring charges against any of the senior or top administrators of the Sara Dunne administration for the abuses can crimes they committed upon veterans at the home.

Some people think the AG is doing this to save face and for political reasons because he is running for the office of governor in the 2018 election and to get this victory at the start of the year would give his campaign a much needed push and feel publicity. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

State Lies, moves to prosecute Former Residents of Vets home.


State of Michigan goes back on its word, notifies veterans of prosecution for income tax evasion.

19 Dec 2017. Earlier this year 4 veterans at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans were discharged (kicked out) of the home for selling non taxed cigarettes at the home to fellow veterans. These smokes were obtained from Native American Reservations by a VA employee, and brought to the home to a specific veteran who then sold them to others. 3 other veterans helped him by “watching the store” when the 1st veteran had to go get his meds, or use the rest room, or something like that.

State of Michigan got involved in the case and decided to let the veterans home decide the fate of the 4.

Now 3 of the 4 have left the home, the 4th being in hospice due to medical issues. 2 of the others, one of whom was the contact person, require nursing care, only 1 can live independently. All 3 had to move out of Kent county to find living accommodations. We just got the last one situated in permanent housing this last Friday.  

None has personal transportation, and all must appear in State court, Grand Rapids Michigan in January. How the state expect them to get there, I have no idea. 2 are scared to death that they will end up in the county jail for months, losing their recently obtain living quarters, effectively putting them on the street yet again.

WHY? Haven’t these people been thru enough already? Who decided to do this? IS this more of the Atty Generals failure to protect veterans? All we know right now is that members of congress have been notified, news media has been notified and many, many people are angry that this is happening just before Christmas. Many think its just a political stunt so that the AG can get a victory under his belt, after so many failures at the Vets home. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

MI drops charges against several Vets home workes

The State of Michigan has dropped the charges against several care givers for reporting that residents were checked on when they were not, or the times were written down wrong.

This means only 1 successful prosecution of a former employee of the home for abusing veterans.

Not one person under the Sara Dunne administration, has been held accountable for the abuses that she, and her staff imposed on veterans.

Bill Shuette the State AG has failed yet again.

He failed to protect the veterans at the home from abuses.
He failed to hold those responsible, accountable,
He failed the Flint water crisis
He failed the Enbridge line 5 pipe line crisis
He failed the Nestle  water bottling fiasco,

He has failed in every way possible. And this man thinks he is fit to be Governor?!!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

2nd top administrator leaves GRHFV in less than a year - Scott is out.

Yes Scott has decided to leave. His reason: Same one Leslie gave us - family time.

Mmmm.. makes you wonder what the real reason is. 

But we know it. It is the MVAA, and the Snyder governments corruption.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

There is always 1 low life trying to ruin things.

Ya know, nothing is worse than some low life who trys to bring in ADULT entertainment to a retirement home where about 80 percent of the population are men, and 60 percent of them can't even get laid, let alone a proper "stiffie".. So why would parading around a bunch of younger half naked girls in front of them be entertaining? Heck, I think it would be frustrating as hell.

But that is what one low life was trying to do. 

As I look back on things that have happened in the last 3 years I see something that is making me scratch my head, wondering if it is all connected.

When Jerry and Greg went to Lansing to testify at a hearing in front of our legislature a few years back, there was a guy down in the lobby that approached Jerry and made it clear he wanted to bring adult entertainment into the home. This ended up with the guy stalking Jerry, and a No trespass order being issued upon the man. Can't remember his name at the moment.

Then earlier this year, when the local community held a public meeting at the old clinic about what was going to happen at that location, that same guy was there. Again. Why?

Then I remembered something else.. There was a scandal in recent years, involving a number of people in the legal field (court system) here in Grand Rapids, and adult entertainment was part of that, and I think several judges, prosecutors or other such people were involved.

Which makes me wonder if Jim Redford, former Judge in Michigans court system who now runs the MVAA, and who claims the MVAA owns the former VA clinic, had some thing to do with that scandal.

I mean why else would the low life guy be at that meeting that was being run by the local neighborhood people?

And all that put together makes me question Redford. And we know Redford is one of Gov Snyder's friends. And we all know what Snyder thinks of Veterans.. Just like we know what Snyders other friend (Sheutte) thinks of them.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Not unlawful to trade or sell a pack of smokes.

The fact of the matter is this: it is not unlawful to sell a pack of smokes. A pack of "rollies", or even a professional made pack, you as a citizen have the right to trade them, sell them, what ever you want to call it.

What we have at the Vets home, is an administration that wants the entire grounds to be non smoking. And they are doing this to force a reduction in the number of guys smoking, thinking that if they cannot afford them, they will quit smoking. Stupid if you ask me. Guys will just pay more for them, and we will have people digging thru the ash cans again.

A non smoking facility, including grounds, will be all but impossible to achieve until the new home is built.

In the case of the 4. We don't even know what crime they could be charged with. So lets see what they could be.

1. tax evasion, via the USE tax.
2. tax evasion - Tobacco stamp tax act.
3. what else? a possible distribution charge?

Now these guys did not go out and get those smokes. They were brought in. What they did was distribute them. This is like them buying 3 cartons, then trading at cost one of them to a friend. Nothing wrong with that. And most people see nothing wrong with that. And most people do not see anything wrong with going out of state to get lower costs smokes. That 2 dollar tax on each pack is not being used for heath care, it gets dumped into the general fund and wasted with all of our other tax money. So why even have it? Most folks see that as another money grab by the state, which has miss managed our states treasury and budget for over 3 decades.

What the home sees as an issue, is these are Manufactured smokes that do not have Michigan tobacco stamp on them. This is like you or I going out of state, and buying a bunch of smokes that cost less than if you got them here and bringing them home. And the administration thinks that is wrong.
Under Michigan law, (and i think this is TOTALLY unconstitutional), the USE tax kicks in when you buy something out of state. You are supposed to report it on your MI 1040 income tax form and pay the Michigan sales tax on the item. Doesn't matter if you paid another states sales tax. And I think that is wrong, but it is the law. I see this as being no different than if i buy something on line and don't have to pay Michigan sales tax. With Amazon, we do pay sales tax because Amazon has a warehouse in Michigan. But other shopping sites do not and when we order thru them, we do not pay Michigan sales tax. That is when the USE tax law goes into effect and it is the most violated tax law we have, and not much is done about it because the state cannot to much about it.
The state could push this as an issue.

2nd, the tobacco stamp tax act.. Since these are in fact, manufactured smokes, I believe the law says they have to have a Michigan tobacco stamp on them.

However, since these smokes were NOT sold at a retail level in Michigan, how does one get that stamp to put on them?

Again this comes down to personal trading, unless the state can prove that these 4 guys were selling them at a profit.

The MVAA, and the home had to act. They had no choice, IF the law was violated. However, this is a minor issue if it is because of the way it was done by these 4 guys.

The man who BROUGHT the smokes to the home is the one who is in real serious trouble.
The MVAA has been criticized for not enforcing policy. Well they are now. And its on 4 guys who are easy targets. That is what is upsetting so many people.

No matter what the MVAA and the administration does, it will look like they are bullying the veterans. Doing this will not help their reputation, which is already sour in the eyes of many people, especially after the bad audit which resulted in Sara Dunne's removal, and the latest fiasco from the MI AG office of charging 11 low level workers with criminal charges, while the AG office still has not held one upper management person accountable for the numerous crimes committed against residents under the previous administration.

Bottom line here.. What we are seeing is just another example from the old administration: Once a veteran is targeted for removal, (discharge) the home finds a way to do it, and these 4 were targeted long ago. After all, this administration under Scott has to get the population down to about 100 before the new home will be built. And this is one way to do it.

We can only hope that they find a safe place to go to.

4 Veterans kicked out of home for selling "illegal" cigarettes.

4 Guys from the Vets home in G.R. will be discharged for selling illegal smokes, according to news reports.

Apparently someone was bringing large quantities of smokes obtain from NY State Indian reservation that was tax free, and was distributing them at several locations within Michigan, including the veterans home.

2 guys started the operation of distribution at the home, and 2 more were brought into the operation. 3 of the 4 were actively selling individual packs, and cartons at cost. 1 was storing the inventory in a cabinet in his room.

It appears that the main players were given written directives to quit selling/distributing them both in 2016 and 2017. Yet they continued.

The result was the administration decided that since they would not follow the Homes rules, they would be discharged.

The veterans were told not to discuss this with anyone. Yet they did, and media was contacted.  The story is creating a lot of social input, and displeasure with the fact that once again, the home is kicking out 4 more guys for what ever reason.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Michigan resident flames AG Schuette

This got sent to me from a 3rd party.. not sure if its real or not, but if it is, THANK YOU JUNE! 

 You hit the nail on the head..

---------- Original Message ----------
From: June Hendricks 
Date: July 28, 2017 at 4:07 PM
Subject: Grand Rapids Home for Veterans

Mr. Schuette,
You're a disgrace to every intelligent person in the State of Michigan.  By charging only the lowest level employees of falsifying records, you have completely ignored the bigger issues.
What about the neglect and abuse of our veterans, some of which has resulted in death?  What about all the money that has just disappeared?  What about the supervisors, managers, and the higher ups? 
You go after the little guy and make headlines.  You protect the bigger guys and no doubt line your pockets and/or campaign chest with the wealth that was stolen from our veterans.
Your office has numerous reports documenting all of this, yet you only have the gonads to go after the little guys.  You should be ashamed!!
I would have supported your run for Governor, but not now.  You have shown your true colors and they are green and yellow.  Green for the greed of the almighty dollar and yellow at the cowardice to seek the truth and prosecute the true offenders.
I will do my best now to make sure everyone knows what you are and I will never support you as a candidate for anything, ever. 
Shame on you, Bill Schuette, SHAME!!

June Hendricks
Allegan, MI

 - - -   end message

Lack of Accountability, not Privatization caused the mess at GRHFV.

The privatization experiment should be ended. We now know that  privatization requires extra vigilance and oversight, for it to work properly and Michigan did not provide that oversight at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

The fiasco at this location was due to economics and again, poor oversight of the Michigan government.  Gov'r Rick Snyder inherited a broken economy, with low revenue streams and lots of welfare bills.  And a dismal veterans care system. We were in last place.

His solution was to create Michigans own version of the VA. MVAA or Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency was created to get Michigan qualified to obtain Federal money which would be used for caring for the vets.

Then the MVAA, state congress, or who ever, decided to skip the rules, ignore the regulations and when the Administrator at the home retired or was ousted (depending on your point of view),  Sara Dunn was pulled out of the kitchens and made top administrator. Kinda stupid, but that's what they did. It was her administration that is the focus of that really bad VA audit, and the group that advocates wanted to see Atty General Bill Scheutte go after, (which he did not)..

Now Gov' Snyder had a juggling act, with the states budget.. The Granholm administration left it in a total mess.

Part of Snyders idea was to run the home as a for profit business. and you cannot do that. It has been a failure.. And the seeds of that failure have been planted into the new authority for the new vets home model. Not a good idea..  This combined with lack of accountability, is what lead to the problems at the vets home. Accountability that is STILL MISSING as the AG office clearly refuses to impose it.

Recently Atty General Bill Scheutte announced criminal charges on some low level employees. Not one higher up administration person has been charged, even when evidence of their wrong doing was given to the AG office which now claims they don't have.

Higher administration officials let things happen at the home and some of them did the atrocities.

Again this page will name names, call for charges, demand justice for our veterans.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Getting Locked out of Carnval 2017 angers some long time attendees.

Saturday was Carnival day at the Vets home.  The yearly event for residents, family members and guests of Residents. Lots of people volunteer to help out. Many past member residents attend, using the event to visit friends who still live at the home.

But this year was different and some found themselves locked out of the event.Apparently the rules changed due to a problem last year.

This year (and next, so this is a warning to all), you MUST BE PRE-REGISTERED if you THINK you MIGHT attend. No last minute, spur of the moment registrations. They want to know who is there, and who is not.

Doors to the buildings were locked. A few were open, such as the main entrance, and the double doors to the pavilion area, next to Kozy corners. Felt like a lock down at a prison. 

Visitors had to register at the main entrance. Then, walk all the way down to the pavilion area and register again as a guest or a volunteer.  There they got a wrist band. Without it, all they could do is walk around. They could not get any water, drinks, food or whatever without getting a wrist band when they registered.

Before this year, registration was not necessary, but encouraged. This year it was and not everyone knew about it. And since they could not register, many just left and went home, feeling locked out.  And they are not happy about this. Nor are some of the residents.

So once again, we have a case of poor communication, lack of information, that prevented some people from participating in this years carnival, which by the way, is the smallest one I have seen in the last 15 years. And I believe it may get smaller, or just stop, as there will be no need for such an event, when the home's population is 150 or less.

The learning curve

Where to begin?

In 2010, this blog was started as a personal history of time spent at the veterans home by one of the residents whose very early life started just feet away from the veterans home.

As time went on, he started logging in the abuses he was witnessing, that were being imposed on fellow veterans thinking what he was seeing was just plain wrong. And that is how this blog page became the first outside voice for those veterans living at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Some of the more vociferous veterans started becoming active in advocating for other veterans who were afraid to speak up at the home. And it has been a learning experience since then. They did not know what to do, or who to talk to. We found out.. that and more.

When it became clear that the administration was in fact, part of the problem, these veterans who had put their lives on the line for this country, started looking for other ways to get the attention of someone to help the resident veterans at the home.

The sent reports to the media who did nothing, or went to the administration to report what they had been given. The administration blew off the reports, and then retaliated against the veterans whom the reports were about.

At first the veterans felt betrayed by the media people. As this article is named, it was a learning curve. We now know that media people have special responsibilities for what they publish/report and we were not giving them enough clear information to do a proper story. We still believe that at the time, the upper management of local media did not want to be the one to create a problem they felt did not exist, out of fear of being locked out of being able to do future stories at or about the home.

And once the terrible VA Audit came out in 2015, were they covered and thus empowered to start reporting about the home.

In the years since this blog started, we have determined that the problem was with the Sara Dunne administration. We also thought there was some problem with the MVAA (Michigan Veterans Affairs agency, a department created by Governor Rick Snyder). This turned out to be bigger than we thought, and yes it too was (and still is) part of the problem. What we could not do, is connect Governor Rick Snyder directly to the problem.. but we can now, indirectly.  Again all part of the learning curve.

What we now know is that the MVAA, and the republican party all took the position that the would do what ever it took to protect the Governor Rick Snyder from being made accountable for the problems at the Veterans home. This group included people within the Attorney Generals office, the MVAA organization, and the administration of Sara Dunne, whose promotion from head of kitchens to top administrator there itself was a political scam, circumventing the will of members of the State congress who wanted someone else to be the new top administrator.

This made the fiasco of the privatization of the health care workers at the home, which was supposed to save taxpayer money and solve other problems the home had with some of the states unionized workers at the home, even worse for the residents.  Privatization seemed to be a good idea. It turns out it the way it was managed, was not. And the governments mismanagement and lack of oversight of the new privatized health care contracts and people, helped to create the history of abuses to veterans at the home that we know of today.

We know that the idea behind the creation of the Michgan Veterans Affairs Agency was the result of Michigan being named as being in last place for the amount of money it spent on veterans. We were 52 out of 52 locations, which included all 50 states and the 2 US territories of Guam and Puerto Rico.  In order to get federal funding (money) we had to change the way we did things to qualify to get that money and that was the job of the MVAA. To create policies that brought us up to qualification standards that would get us federal money to spend on veterans. And it worked. Michigan began receiving federal money and spending on Veterans increase. This started with Governor Rick Snyder's first term in office which started in 2010. Michigans term limits will prevent Snyder from running for office again in 2018, as he has served 2 full terms and Governors have a max of 10 years as Governor under this law.

The previous 8 years were under Democrat Canadian born governor Jennifer Granholm, who presided over Michigan during the 2000 - 2008 economic collapse of the industrial based economy that once made Michigan one of the best places to live and where Detroit once held the title of the highest per capita income city in the USA.

As time went on at the Vets home and the problems continued despite constant bad VA audits that showed continual problems at the home, audits that were signed off by Battle Creek VA director Mary Beth Skupien (a federal employee) things came to a head when one particular VA auditor got so frustrated with the way he was being handled by the Vets home administration while he was doing his audit, that he ended up writing the audit that turned out to be the one that exposed beyond deniability that there were serious problems at the Grand Rapids Home for veterans.  The MVAA and the Republican party could no longer ignore the problems which had been made public by that audit.

Advocates at the time continued to speak up for the veterans at the home. Yet the still seemed to be ineffective. As the Michigan legislature became involved in their own investigation, hearings were held in at the capital in Lansing Michigan by both House and senate committees, who invited veterans and advocates to speak to the legislature.

We now know that at this time there were two groups of advocates for the veterans. The first group was the Service Organizations, (SOE's) who for years advocated for veterans, helped to support the home with donations for veterans, money for activities and projects such as the Grilling hut located next to the pavilion where there are 6 gas grills used for picnics for the veterans. The remodeling of the Grotto park, the building and maintaining of the Band Stand, providing bingo games, and prizes for residents, and donations of all kinds.  Without this outside help, the home would have been just another institution for veterans. And these SOE's also advocated for all of Michigans Veterans. These SOE groups include but are not limited to groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion (AL) AmVets, and others.

The there was what I call the "inner circle" (ICU) advocates. Those advocates who were members or residents, both present and past and the family members who dared to speak up about what the personally experienced at the home.

Around March of 2016, The State of Michigan House of Representatives joint committee made up of the members of the House ethics committee and the Military affairs oversight committee herd testimony from the public on the conditions at the Veterans home. Advocates from both groups as well as others testified to this committee. Last to speak on the last of the 3 days of hearings was American legion spokes person Mark Suttons who put a wet blanket on the testimony of those who went before him. Basically Mark, a person rarely seen at the Vets home, told the legislature, that "not everyone thinks its a bad place to live" after hearing horror story after another about the conditions at the home. 

Then on June 6th, 2016, the state legislature did something it has done only twice since 1990 - it held a hearing outside the capital. They came to the Grand Rapids veterans home to give veterans who could not travel to Lansing earlier that year, a chance to speak to them. Again advocates from all groups attended.  

The result were some changes to the home, and the homes administration. Sara Dunne was retired. MVAA announced a new care system to be put in place, with a CEO acting as president and several vice presidents, and each home with a daily operation officer (DOO) to report to the CEO.  Leslie Shanlian was chosen to be CEO, with the current administrator of the Jacobetti home in the UP to remain as DOO, and Scott Blankey was hired to be GRHFV's DOO. Both Leslie and Scott signed 2 year contracts and were hired to turn the place around. 

Also the creation of a new authority to run the Michgan veterans homes, which would upgrade the model being used. After looking at other states systems, it was decided to adapt one similar to what Tennessee has.  During this time, CEO Leslie quit her job first claiming family issues, then later admitting she was frustrated and tired of  being interfered with by MVAA officials, the red tape, and not being allowed to do the job she was hired to do. I am also told she found it difficult to work with Scott. 

And of course the entire system when on the attack of the privatized health care workers, the contracts with J2S, blaming J2S for a lot of the problems, when in fact, these problems were allowed to continue by GRHFV administrators and the MVAA who acted so slowly to identify and correct problems. The fact that contracts were in place that limited what the could do, hampered their ability to do this.

Many issues identified at the hearings, and the resulting investigations and audits still exist at the home, despite the many positive changes that have happened. Yes Leslie and Scots work has improved conditions at the home in many ways; and in many ways the administration now missing Leslie, still has a lot to do. Brad Slagle, the DOO of the J Jacobetti home in the UP took up the CEO job on a temporary basis. As of today I do not know if a permanent replacement is being looked for as the main focus of energies seem to be the creation, implementation, and execution of the new authority that will end up running the Michigan Veterans home system. The new system calls for several smaller homes be built in various population centers, more central to where veterans live. No longer having one big facility like the GR home. Each new home will have about 150 or less rooms for veterans. And will draw on local resources thus making it easier for the state to provide services to the veterans. This of course is dependent upon obtaining federal money to help pay for it all. A new home will be built on the grounds of the current GR home, and the old buildings will be either removed (Rankin building will be removed) or renovated for other uses such as office spaces.

During the troubled times of the previous administration the Attorney Generals office ran by Bill Schutte was informed of the on going problems at the home. His response was "the veterans do not have to live there, if they don't like it they can live somewhere else", or words to that effect. It is now clear to many advocates that his attitude towards veterans has not changed. - He could care less.

The scathing audit of 2015 and the outrage of veterans and advocates, and members of the legislature who claim they knew nothing of the happenings at the home despite MVAA employee James Dunn claiming he informed them of everything, caused the AG's office to start a criminal investigation of the home. Prior to that, when advocates went to Lansing to file reports, they were met with a very negative attitude by government workers. Instead of agreeing to look into the complaints, the advocates were told anything that was given to the government would be used to protect it, not investigate it for wrong doing.

July 26th, 2017, AG's office announced the filing of 11 charges against middle management workers at the home. Not one charge against the upper administration. Many feel these people are being used as scapegoats and advocates anger hit an all time high at this news. The AG news release claimed their investigation was ongoing.

However reports from advocates who have contacted the AG's office have claimed that the AGs office is just plain incompetent itself. They tell me that Names, places, events were given to the AG's office after Schuette made the announce me that he was opening the investigation and needed information, and now the office is claiming they had none. Also, I am told that some how, several incident reports got mixed up and instead of having say 7 different incidents, the AG thinks there were 3 and the information about those 3, has stuff from the other 4 making it difficult to know what really happened. Well the advocates tried to straighten them out, and they are efforts are hitting a brick wall - again.

Advocates are extremely frustrated with the lack of the AGS's office to investigate, and hold accountable any high level administrator or MVAA official and have decided they will not accept the AG's resent report as being completed. On the contrary, many feel its time to break out the big stuff  and light the fires for a drawn out battle with the AG's office. 

AG Bill Schuette is planning on running for Governor in 2018 and many are saying this will be the thing that he will have to face and will cause him to lose the election.  And advocates are still learning what they have to do to force our government to hold those people in upper administrative positions accountable for the suffering they allowed to happen.

This isn't over yet.  Advocates tried to do the right thing, but when your government refuses to do their job, it is a call to action.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Lino Pretto ousted

Oh Catherine Buckley, love ya! I just heard a rumor that you caused Lino Pretto to be removed as the American Legion's liaison person between them and the legislature. I am told that when they announced his nomination for the job, you spoke up in amazed disgust at the possibility of "that pervert" being the one.. and apparently his name was withdrawn.


Part of the "rest of the story", what MI AG Schuette ignored.

What people may not know what happened during the Time of the previous administration. A number of abuses of veterans at the home occurred.

Veterans were systematically stripped of all assets by the Guardian/Conservator System imposed on them by the state courts. Several times we had wives of veterans tossed to the street, their family home sold out from underneath the wife who belonged to the generation that took care of their “house wives”. because her name was not on the houses deed. Married for 50+ years, no Social security, nothing, and curbed because her hubby vet got put into the vets home when she could no longer care for him due to her own problems she gets with aging.  The guardian/conservator kicked them to the street.

Veterans were MURDERED by incompetent medical staff who gave them wrong prescriptions,  refused to follow VA doctors instructions or did not treat their medical conditions properly. One veteran named Monrow, was kicked out of Dom unit for refusing to turn over the medication he got from VA Ann Arbor, after a major shoulder operation. And Dom unit people are "self medicating" meaning they keep their meds locked up in their rooms, and take them as required without help of nursing staff. The Doctors wanted to change his meds upon his return from his VA Hospital stay, and he refused to let them, choosing to follow the VA Surgeon's instructions.  So they kicked him out to the street.

Other vets in Nursing units were overdosed, given wrong meds, given meds they did not need, forced to take them against their will or have their personally owned property taken from them as punishment.

Some of the veterans would have a meds routine that they had been on for years, then they move into the home and the doctors there changed them, many times resulting in the Vet having to go to the ER. One vet was taken by family members just 3 weeks after moving into the home, to the VA hospital in Battle creek, near death because of what the homes medical staff did to his meds schedule. 

Then we had veterans who were forced to take drugs they did not need. One fellow died from taking Depakote, a drug he did not need. The state imposed conservator Sythia Thornbury ordered him to take it. When he refused they threatened to take away his scooter – his PROPERTY that he owned. I call that theft and intimidation.  He had to carry a sign on his scooter that said if he did not take his meds, he would loose his scooter. This is abuse of veterans. And it happened more than just one of them. 

Michigan family court judge David Murkowski was the one who approved many of the homes request to impose a guardian or conservator upon the veterans who became slaves to the guardian/conservator.The Veterans Freedom to choose, freedom to consent, was taken away from them by the courts and Murkowski.  The veterans were forced to pay the service fees for the conservators/guardians too, out of their own pockets.  

I have one veteran currently living at the home whose conservator REFUSES To put his money into a trust for his daughters. The state wants to claim it after they kill him off, just as they did so many others before him. 

They tried to make another veteran take drugs he did not need because of a family history of epilepsy. He did not have it,  and taking it made him feel like a zombie.. so when he refused they fought with him and his wife for 8 months trying to get the courts to impose a guardian on him. He finally left the home after an accident caused him to spend 4 months in a recovery hospital, and just 3 months after leaving that, he began walking again for the first time in 6 years, with the help of a walker. His health improved dramatically after leaving the home.

Then there is the intimidation of veterans. Sara Dunne stated publicly she would not tolerate any resident talking bad about the home to state legislatures. She said it was her job to talk to them. - denial of freedom of speech.

Sara, and Board of Managers  Lino Pretto told a group of residents they did not have a right to hold a meeting amongst themselves to discuss issues. This is a denial of their freedom to assemble and freedom of speech. It is well known, that any resident who spoke up or made waves risked being kicked out of the home. And many were under the Sara Dunn administration.

Jim Dunn, attorney, and I believe a former Michigan House of Represenatives, told people that he told the Governor everything that was going on at the home. He lied. The truth is he withheld information from the Governor to protect him and the upper management. 

These people were intimidated to the point where they were afraid to speak up about the abuses they suffered every day, because they had no where else to go. And this is just some of the abuses veterans tolerated every day.

One veteran was kicked out of the home for laying his hands on another veteran, while stopping 2 of them from fighting - one of which was nearly killed by the other one who was hitting him in the head with a bike lock in his hand. Had the veteran who broke up the fight not done so, we would have had another veteran murdered at the home by a fellow veteran and the Andy Ball case would have been one of several. - and it is.. the others just never got into court.  The man who got kicked out is Jerry L, one of 2 veterans who testified in Lansing to the House joint committee about the abuses at the home. He too has become a victim of the administrations abuses. 

Another veteran was kicked to the street without warning because he lost his temper when the home threatened to steal his car, having it towed away and impounded when it was parked in the wrong spot due to the staff always parking in the area reserved for residents. His first offense, and they kicked him out because he was an activist advocate for the veterans there. After being kicked out he was the other veteran who testified in Lansing about the abuses at the home.

When veterans called GR police department to report crimes by staff, GRPD refused to investigate.

It is really a wonder no one went postal there. A couple of times I thought someone was going to. One guy went around and pulled every fire alarm he could find in retaliation for the abuse he was putting up with.. they put him in court yard for a year and threatened him with removal to Battle Creek VA psychiatric unit.. 

And that VA Director of the Battle Creek VA hospital Mary Beth Skupian, who signed off on several years of VA audits showing continual problems at the Home. She needs to be held accountable as well. She could have done something, but did nothing. 
During this time,  AG Schutte 's response to the complaints by veterans was "they don't have to live there", instead of looking into the complaints filed by veterans, families of veterans and advocates.

Well, yes they do have to live there,  when their only other option is the street. And many were kicked to the street, only to die on the street, and in several case, less than half a mile from the home itself. To this day residents are still afraid to speak up, and many do not trust the new administration.

When advocates and residents took their concerns to Lansing, they were refused, and rebutted and told that anything they told Lansing would be used to support the administration. Basically their pleas for help were rejected. THIS is why everyone is so upset with Schuttes recent act of shear incompetence, and why so many feel insulted by what he did not do. Lansings job was to protect people, the veterans. Instead they protected the administration, and by doing so, have now helped to victimize the veterans. 

And now Schuttee dismal performance by announcing the criminal charges against middle management while refusing to hold accountable the upper management who supposedly were supervising the middle management and FAILED,  has insulted the veterans, veterans groups and advocates, and everyone is in an uproar over it.   

This isn't over yet people.. the fire storm is about to hit Schuette and Lansing. Shuette might as well give up his run for governor because this incident will be put front and center where ever he goes to speak for his run for governor. 

 These are just SOME of the abuses that happened. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

MI Atty General Bill Schuette Dishonors Veterans - Again.

On Monday,, 24 July 2017, Michigans Attorney General Bill Schuette announced criminal charges against 11 former workers at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, relating to the previous administration.

These are middle management people, and are being used as scapegoats, nothing more.

This poor performance of the AG's office is an insult to the justice demanded by the victims of the Sara Dunne administration.

Given Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and his team took so long to announce charges relative to abuses at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, I truly expected to see substantial, meaningful criminal charges filed.  I believe anyone abusing our veterans should be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible.

In that regard, everyone should support the filing of charges of the individuals named today.

However, activists for the veterans are extremely disappointed that after all this time none of those charged included some of the worst offenders:  Michigan Attorney General Schuette's own team member (who was the Assistant Attorney General who guided past Admin. while atrocities were ongoing - the same one who advised us Schuette and Governor Snyder were told "everything" as early as 2014); the past administrators and Home leaders who not only shut a blind eye to horrific abuses, but who should be directly accountable for many abuses they made  themselves; those who are accountable for the still missing millions of dollars; as well as certain previously identified Board of Manager members who threatened and intimidated those who spoke out about abuses or asked for change.

Until that happens, Any action taken by the Attorney generals office, is inadequate for the justice demanded, and deserved by those victimized by the previous administration.

Schuttee made his position on veterans clear years ago when he said " they don't have to live there", showing complete disrespect to those for which that veterans home is the only place they have other than the street. And todays action by Schuttee is a furthering of that previous idea.

In other words, he could care less.

Schutte claims that people did not provide him with names, locations, and specifics.. To this I claim BULL!  I personally did video interviews of fellow residents, and took those videos and paperwork to both local media and Sent copies to the AG's office.  NOTHING was done. No one stood up for the veterans.  The AG office has that information. 

There is no excuse for this poor performance of the AG's office. 

It is clear that its position is one of protecting the Governor Rick Snyder Administration and its followers.  Schuette should wear a bag over his head in public to hide his shame.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Warning to all Veteran residents, past and present of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Guys: post this to the blogspot page and the Facebook page ASAP, as it is very very important. 
(ok, here it is).
22 March 2017

Warning to Veterans. Pass this info on to all Residents of the Michigan Veterans home, past and current. Especially if they are in the domiciliary unit.

It is well known that the homes administration, both present and past has some serious issues still not being addressed by the Board of Managers, the administration or anyone.

Part of this issue is the way mail is handled.

Part of this issue is the way the home handles medical billing issues, and getting the correct paperwork to the VA so the VA will cover medical bills for veterans who have VA care.

If you are a current resident or former resident, you =NEED= to check your credit history this month. Look for outstanding bills not paid. They may be listed in the section that covers collections agency reports.

As a former Dom unit member, who had VA care before I went to the home, I just found something that angers me to no end. The home itself does not pay for medical expenses. As a Non Income person, classified as a homeless veteran, I was given a place to stay at the home. “A bed” as they call it. I was never given a copy of my acceptance contract, nor do I have one to this day. I was never informed as to my responsibilities were, nor what I would be responsible for in the future, if I left the home.

We now know they claimed it cost over 5k per month to have a veteran in the Dom unit, and more for other units. However the residents get charged a percentage of that amount. What was not told to them, is that the amount they do not pay, is allowed to accumulate, and a state lien is put on them in case they ever have any future earnings or money that the state can take. NONE of us in Dom unit were told this. There are guys who now owe the state hundreds of thousands of dollars. They have been forced into remaining poor for the rest of their lives because they were not informed of this and could not make proper choices.

Also what was not told to us, is that if the home sent us out to get medical care outside the home, we would be responsible for the bills.

I just learned about that fact today, some 5 years after Sara Dunne kicked me out of the home.

Now for those of us with VA care. That means we have to notify the VA, and get approval, even under emergency conditions. But we were not told that.

The homes doctors at the Veterans Home can send a copy of the bill to the VA with a note attached that the care given by outside sources was emergency treatment, and the VA will cover it.. but the doctors that USED to work at the home refused to do so, leaving the veteran to have to pay for things out of pocket.

This is what happened to me. 1 month after a quad bypass given to me in the VA hospital in Ann Arbor, I came down with post-operative Pneumonia. And I was sent to spectrum ER. I think the VA was notified of this and paid most of the bills. But one remained unpaid. I found this out by looking at my credit report, and found an unpaid bill being reported by a collections agency from 5 years ago.

I called the agency up and found out the date – Aug 8, 2011. 30 days after my surgery. That’s when Dr. Bates sent me to the ER when I told Nurse Kathy that I had a dizzy spell standing up from my bed. And I never got a copy of ANY of the bills for that ER visit.

This is because all mail is intercepted by the home and the staff goes thru it, and is supposed to process it properly. Many times they did not.

This also explains why when a friend Jerry L broke his wrist in a fall on an icy sidewalk, the home sent him to the ER and refused to pay the bill. Since Jerry did not have VA care at the time, he probably has a bunch of unpaid medical bills on his credit history that he doesn’t even know are his responsibility. And now the home has all but erased any evidence that the accident even took place.

I consider this to be victimization of the resident veterans because we were not properly informed and this has had consequences. We were not informed of the bills, nor given a copy of them, nor were we informed we were responsible for them. How can we act on something we do not know about?

We have been damaged by the homes administration’s failure to properly process paperwork, to inform us, and to give us copies of bills and notices that we needed to be aware of. I am wondering if this is grounds for a class action lawsuit.

- Gregory M, former Rankin 3 resident.