Lucas County Veterans Service Commission Under Investigation
By Nick Haupricht
Editor’s note: We have been tracking Nick Haupricht’s investigation into spending habits at the Lucas County Veterans Service Commision over a period of months. We have reviewed their accounting with local officials as submitted under Freedom of Information and call for an independent audit by a qualified accounting firm.
We have seen clear indications of irregularity that could amount to millions missing. There are few places in America where veterans suffer more than Lucas County. We are being stonewalled and it will end.
I stopped by the Veterans Service Office at the V.A. Clinic and talked to Pat Grzybowski and he said that he was told by Lee Armstrong that I was invited to the last meeting, however the invite never came.
2 weeks ago, I contacted Lee and asked him if he knew how much the Veterans Commission gave back to the County Commissioners, and he stated that he didn’t know. Since then, Lee, and all of the Veterans Service Commissioners that I have an e-mail list on won’t return my e-mails or phone calls.
Due to the lack of communication I have taken it upon myself to research this situation. I went to the Food Bank and had a long talk with Deb Vas (419) 244-2123 and she told me that the Veterans Service Commission cut their funding by $7,000. So that means that about 140 of our Homeless Veterans went without food. I thought that the Veterans Service Commission was set up to help our Homeless Veterans.
Getting back to the conversation I had with Pat, I told him that the Veterans Service Commissioners gave $229,000 to the County Commissioners and he couldn’t believe it. He stated that a figure of $5,000,000 is what the county should be giving to the Veterans Service Commissioners.
According to the state law, all counties of Ohio should be giving .5 mil. of the county taxes to their Veterans Service Commission. On January 23, 2012 I went to the County Commissioners office and asked for a copy of the expenses of the Veterans Service Commission for the last 5 years and they gave them to me and this is what I am asking.
Why does our Veterans Service Commission give back money to the County Commissioners? If we use the figure that I got from the Veterans Service Commissioner Pat Grzybowski of $5,000,000 we are way off the money that the Veterans Service Commission should be getting to take care of our Homeless Veterans.
I figure the money they should be getting from the County Commissioners and what the Veterans Service Commission should be getting are way off.
So let’s go with the figure that Pat Grzybowski gave me $5,000,000. For the year of 2007 they didn’t use $3,552,345.70, in 2008 they didn’t use $3,424,103.40, in 2009 they didn’t use $3,348,027.20, in 2010 they didn’t use $3,425,896, and in 2011 they didn’t use $3,578,798.80, which brings us to a grand total of $17,329,169 that was not used for our Homeless Veterans that are currently on the streets of Lucas County.
Next question. Why did the Veterans Service Commission cut the money by $7,000 this year to the Food Bank? That leaves about 140 Homeless Veterans without their food. These guys are on the street and you give them food vouchers to walk 15 blocks to and from to get their food only to have it stolen by somebody. Why don’t you give them a county food card? Then they wouldn’t have to worry about someone taking their food. If we have that kind of money, we could make our Veterans a little safer and they wouldn’t have to be a second class citizen.