LOS ANGELES – Like a thief in the night, Terry Richards snuck into town last year on a Greyhound bus from St. Petersburg, Florida and finagled himself a room at the Los Angeles VA with a warm bed, hot meals, shower, TV, computer, etc. – all free — while 20,000 disabled and disadvantaged Veterans in LA remained homeless and hungry on Skid Row and in back-alley squalor.
How did he accomplish this?
Is this the norm?
Of course not.
If it was, Los Angeles would not be our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans.
But Mr. Richards, an out-of-state vagabond, got immediate free housing and meals while tens of thousands of Veterans remain homeless and hungry in LA.
Did he accomplish this amazing feat because he’s a slick con-artist, or because he has special connections at the VA, or because he has political operatives working in his behalf?
Or, perhaps all the above?
Regardless, Terry Richards is not his real name as he had it changed to conceal his true identity. Correspondingly, nobody really knows who Terry Richards is because he changes personalities like a chameleon changes colors.
One day Mr. Richards is living comfortably in Florida, and the next day he’s on the run to California.
One day he’s boasting that he has dedicated his life to helping homeless Veterans, and the next day he’s in our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans living free and safe while 20,000 disabled and destitute Veterans are struggling to survive on the dangerous streets of LA.
One day he’s happily living rent-free at a VA Domiciliary, and the next day he angrily threatens to sue them because he purports they’re discriminating against him because of his religion.
One day he professes to be on the side of homeless Veterans to build a new Veterans Home, and the next day he’s in bed with wealthy neighboring homeowners who want to convert this sacred land into a public park.
One day he’s an advocate for permanent supportive housing at the VA for disabled homeless Veterans, and the next day he’s lobbying politicians to pass out free welfare rent and food stamps to warehouse Veterans far away from the VA.
One day he’s expressing animosity toward all politicians, and the next day he’s in cahoots with any politician that wants to use him to advance their own cause, even if it’s against homeless Veterans that he purports to be helping.
One day he’s a trusted friend with homeless Veterans living at the Domiciliary, and the next day he’s a VA informant fabricating lies to vengefully get these same Veterans expelled from the Domiciliary.
One day he claims to be your ally opposing the public park scam, and the next day he’s your enemy fabricating vicious lies and slander in a scurrilous attempt to damage your good name, demean your deceased parents and discredit your group while he jumps ship to support the public park scamsters.
One day he’s a homeless misfit amongst everyday Veterans, and the next day he’s warmly embraced by some of our nation’s wealthiest homeowners and most powerful politicians.
In short, Mr. Richards is a dichotomy of multiple personalities … each without scruples.
Like a Thief in the Night
I knew of Mr. Richards when he was a writer for “Veterans Today” a few years ago. At that time, he lived in St. Petersburg, Florida. He wrote me expressing interest in our cause of fighting the great land-fraud scam at the Los Angeles VA.
Mr. Richards steadfastly avowed his staunch opposition against the proposed public park and Congressman Henry Waxman who failed miserably in protecting this sacred land for Veterans use only.
In March 2012, Mr. Richards contacted me and said he was homeless in Santa Monica and needed a ride to the Los Angeles VA. I responded to his plea for help and picked him up.
Mr. Richards requested that I first stop at a Verizon store so he could purchase a new cell phone since he alleged his was stolen.
He directed the Verizon agent to completely eliminate and divert his old number and replace it with a new one. This directive later became evident as he wanted to prevent anyone from his past tracking him down.
While at the Verizon store, it was noticeable that Mr. Richards had ample cash and a credit card so he wasn’t destitute like most homeless Veterans here in LA who cannot afford a cell phone, let alone food or rent.
After leaving Verizon, I drove Mr. Richards to the VA and dropped him off as requested. He later phoned me on his new cell phone telling me he had a room with a warm bed, hot meals, shower, etc. – all free!
It remains a mystery as to how he accomplished all this so quickly as the VA normally does not admit anyone who is homeless unless they’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, and even that can be a timely process.
Only a few months before the VA accommodated Mr. Richards with immediate housing, a homeless female Veteran was denied housing and forced to live on the sidewalk outside the VA because she was not addicted to drugs or alcohol.
I sent out an emergency e-mail to every local, state and federal politician in Los Angeles seeking help in her behalf, and only LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, a Veteran whose Supervisorial District is 25 miles away, took action and his staff contacted the County outreach team and got her admitted to the VA.
But who did Mr. Richards know and what did they do for him that gained him immediate housing privileges in spite of being an out-of-state vagabond on the run?
How was he able to get a free room and meals at the VA quicker than a seriously ill disabled Veteran can be admitted to the emergency room?
How was he able to get a room and meals as easily as a fat-cat homeowner group swindled 16 acres of Veterans property for a public park?
Did Mr. Richards accomplish this amazing feat because he’s a slick con-artist, or because he has special connections at the VA, or because he has political operatives working in his behalf?
Or, perhaps all the above?
After all, “working the system” is how a billion-dollar parcel of Veterans land was heisted for an affluent homeowner group to build a public park, “rent free,” so why shouldn’t it work for a homeless drifter to get free room and board?
A Leopard’s Spots Never Change
The aforementioned notwithstanding, once Mr. Richards settled in at the VA he began his big hustle in Los Angeles that was consistent with his Modus Operandi in St. Petersburg.
And what was his M.O. in Florida, or even Columbus, Ohio where he lived before fleeing to St. Petersburg?
I got a glimpse from Daniel J. Kortenhaus, a St. Petersberg attorney, as to why Mr. Richards fled there in the middle of the night for Los Angeles.
Mr. Kortenhaus wrote:
- Terry owes my client $7,100 for attorney’s fees.
- I could not even begin to tell you about all of the frivolous lawsuits that he filed here in Florida.
- He sued my client for religious discrimination and lost.
- He tried to get his female property manager fired when she wouldn’t date him. He sued her also.
- He sued the City of St. Pete Beach because the police department would not arrest his neighbor when Terry complained about the neighbor’s noisy parrot.
- He filed a never ending barrage of housing complaints with the St. Petersburg code
That was Mr. Richard’s immediate past and a leopard’s spots never change.
Now, he is as maliciously litigious and confrontational in Los Angeles as he was in St. Petersburg. Correspondingly, he threatened to sue those who were providing him free room and board for purportedly discriminating against him because of his religion.
Threatening Secretary Shinseki and President Obama
Our First Amendment Rights are paramount for a free and democratic society, including the Right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. However, constantly using this for personal advantage while you already have a personal advantage over others, is not what the Founding Fathers intended.
Nevertheless, Mr. Richards sent a personal letter to VA Secretary Shinseki threatening him to either bow to his bullying and self-serving demands or else he was going to sue.
He cc’d other government officials, including President Obama, the ACLU, and a Jewish Chaplain:
From: TERRY RICHARDS
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Dear Secretary Shinseki:
Simply put, before I go to the National and Local TV, Newspaper, and Online News Media and/or and request the ACLU or an Attorney I retain on contingency to file a Legal Cause of Action for Relief, I would like to try and resolve this entire matter of PATIENT ABUSE, REVERSE DISCRIMINATION BY MINORITY STAFF AGAINST MAJORITY VETERAN-PATIENTS, RETALIATION BY STAFF AND DIRECTOR AGAINST ME FOR REPORTING ALL OF SAID UNLAWFUL ACTIVITIES, ANTISEMITISM, INTIMIDATION, AND PROSELYTIZING OF A JEWISH VETERAN-PATIENT (ME) TO CHRISTIANITY in required classes I must attend, I would like to discuss this entire matter with your representative(s) here or in Washington, D.C. I do not wish to discuss any of this matter with the Domiciliary Director Ms. Arzenia Redcross, Chief, DRRTP, or any other Members of the West Los Angeles VA Domiciliary Staff at this time.
Please note that I have e-mail files that reveal that I reported Patient Abuse, among other things not too long ago to your Chief of Staff John Gingrich.
cc: President Obama by Fax at the White House later today.
cc: John Gingrich, Chief of Staff of the Department of Veterans Affairs by e-mail.
cc: Donna M. Beiter, RN, MSN, Director for the VA Greater Los Angeles heathcare system, by hand delivery later today.
cc: David Sapp and Mark Rosenbaum, ACLU of Southern Calilfornia by e-mail..
cc: Barbara Speyer, Jewish Chaplain, for the VA Greater Los Angeles heathcare system by e-mail.
Mr. Richards used all caps to threaten and shout at the Secretary of the VA and President of the United States, which is consistent with his thuggish style to demand personal attention and special privileges for himself.
With Mr. Richards, it’s always about “ME, ME, ME,” whoever that particular “me” happens to be at the moment.
If Mr. Richards didn’t appreciate the conditions for the free room and board he was receiving while 20,000 other Veterans remained homeless and hungry in Los Angeles, all he had to do was leave and join them … but he didn’t.
As a result, this out-of-state ingrate thinks he’s entitled to special treatment and privileges by sending hostile and threatening demands to the highest levels of government in order to finagle benefits for his own self-serving interests.
Abusing the Old Veterans Guard
After sending his threatening e-mail to Secretary Shinseki and President Obama, et al, Mr. Richards tried to use and abuse the good name of the Old Veterans Guard to hustle a local attorney to sue those who were providing him free housing and meals, complaining they discriminated against him because of his religion.
Once I learned Mr. Richards was misrepresenting himself as a bona fide member of the Old Veterans Guard, I intervened and informed him that he was to never again use and abuse our good name for his self-serving motives.
He became angry and vindictive, true to his destructive and unsavory core.
While Mr. Richards seemed to disappear, we learned that he had joined Congressman Henry Waxman’s re-election campaign and was receiving government assistance for an apartment off-campus from the VA. This all happened after he turned VA informant to get homeless Veterans expelled from housing programs through his vindictive assault against anyone who disagrees with his self-serving intentions.
Mr. Richards’ support for Congressman Waxman was contrary to virtually every other Veteran, be they Democrat or Republican, because Mr. Waxman has seriously failed our Veterans over the past 38 years while refusing to defend and protect these sacred grounds for Veteran housing only.
Instead of defending Veterans and their property at the Veterans Home, Mr. Waxman supports a wealthy homeowner group that wants to turn these sacred grounds into a public park and tourist entertainment attraction “for the enjoyment of the entire community.”
While Mr. Richards once proclaimed absolute disdain for the Congressman because of the aforementioned, he was now dutifully campaigning for him, which is consistent with his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality.
Character Assassin Hit-Man
Mr. Richards served as Congressman Waxman’s “jackal-in-chief” after I wrote the truth about his legacy being a complete failure for disabled homeless Veterans in Los Angeles, emphasizing the fact that during nearly four decades in Congress Mr. Waxman never appropriated one dollar for one blanket for one homeless Veteran.
Doubling up with this and my dismissal of Mr. Richards from any association with the Old Veterans Guard, he turned on me with spiteful and hateful vengeance by unleashing fabricated, scurrilous, libelous and slanderous propaganda in a malicious smear campaign aimed to damage me, my deceased parents, and the Old Veterans Guard.
Mr. Richards also made a scurrilous and libelous assault on attorney Daniel Kortenhaus, even though the courts found Mr. Richards liable, including dismissing numerous of his frivolous lawsuits against innocent people.
In his shallow and self-serving world, Mr. Richards is forever right and always the victim, while everyone else is wrong and owes him his self-prescribed entitlements.
More Political Propaganda
While working for the Waxman political machine, Mr. Richards teamed up with Joe Halper, a California Delegate for the Democratic Party, and together they have conspired to subvert the progress that the Old Veterans Guard has made on behalf of disabled and homeless Veterans and saving their land at the Veterans Home.
Messrs. Halper and Richards are in absolute opposition to the ACLU lawsuit, as is Henry Waxman and President Obama, whose Department of Justice and U.S. Attorneys are vigorously fighting this lawsuit that seeks justice for disabled and homeless Veterans and the protection of their sacred land.
In spite of Congressman Waxman and President Obama being in strong opposition to the ACLU lawsuit, Messrs. Halper and Richards campaigned faithfully for them, and always under the ruse of serving Veterans.
Who is Joe Halper?
While nobody really knows who Terry Richards is, it’s a known fact his accomplice, Joe Halper, is an American Legionnaire and Los Angeles Planning Commissioner who wants to turn Veterans sacred land into a public community park, while the Old Veterans Guard and National Veterans Coalition want to build an emergency Humanitarian Relief Project, including a new and permanent Veterans Home for disabled homeless Veterans.
Disloyalty to the American Legion and Veterans
While Mr. Halper has continuously supported building a public park on Veterans property, at the 2008 American Legion Department of California Annual Convention, the Delegates unanimously passed a Resolution rescinding any endorsement or support for a public park that was orchestrated by Veterans Park Conservancy, which is not a Veterans organization, but an affluent and influential homeowner association.
Mr. Halper is at serious odds with the American Legion by supporting the very park that his fellow Legionnaires unanimously voted against five years ago, and his disloyalty against them and the greater good of Veterans in favor of his wealthy cronies is a shameful disgrace.
Disloyalty to the ACLU and Veterans
Messrs. Halper and Richards both claim to be members of the ACLU, yet both oppose the ACLU lawsuit that calls for rescinding all the illegal “sharing agreements” the VA has with non-Veteran, special interest groups. This includes, but is not limited to, the public park as well as a playground and athletic field leased by the VA to Brentwood School, a wealthy private school where Mr. Halper’s grandchildren attend.
When Mr. Richards first arrived in Los Angeles last year, he wanted to use the ACLU to sue the VA over religious discrimination.
When that self-serving ploy failed, he began opposing the ACLU’s lawsuit against the VA, which is consistent with his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. It further reveals his sordid allegiance to the VA, which is a defiant Defendant in the lawsuit.
Messrs. Halper and Richards have displayed complete disloyalty to the ACLU and the disabled homeless Veterans that the lawsuit is defending, including Plaintiff Vietnam Veterans of America.
Disloyalty to a Veterans Caucus
In 2008, Bob Handy, then chairman of the Veterans Caucus of the California Democratic Party, fought valiantly for a “Resolution to Protect a National Sacred Trust” defending the Deed of 1888 and opposing the public park and other misuse of Veterans property at the Los Angeles National Veterans Home.
In spite of vigorous opposition by Congressman Waxman and other political sell-outs, a year and a half later Mr. Handy finally got his Resolution passed.
Mr. Handy, a 78-year old Korean and Vietnam War Veteran, stood firm on his loyalty to protect the sacred trust for the benefit of disabled and homeless Veterans. That loyalty ignited fierce opposition and Mr. Handy’s chairmanship was overthrown by a coup of young Iraqi War Veterans beholden to Henry Waxman, who is beholden to the wealthy and influential Veterans Park Conservancy homeowner group.
This overthrow opened the door for Mr. Halper to organize a coalition in his wealthy community of Pacific Palisades and neighboring Brentwood to undermine Mr. Handy’s noble Resolution by authoring a deceptive document titled “Resolution to Establish a National Home for Veterans in Los Angeles.”
This bogus Resolution does not support a National Home for Veterans but secretly supports the public park scam through a disingenuous VA “CARES Master Plan,” which is opposed by virtually everyone except the wealthy neighboring homeowners who want a public park.
There’s only one “Master Plan” and it’s called the Deed of 1888, and there’s nothing anywhere in it that allows building a public park “for the enjoyment of the entire community.”
To the contrary, the Deed declares repeatedly that this land is “to be permanently maintained as a National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.”
It’s important to note that while Mr. Halper authored his deceptive Resolution for approval of the Veterans Caucus, it was proposed and adopted by Pacific Palisades Democratic Club and Brentwood Residence Coalition, both representative of homeowners and not Veterans.
And while Mr. Halper is a Veteran, he didn’t submit his trumped-up Resolution as a fellow Veteran to the Veterans Caucus, but with his own political accolades: Author: Joe Halper 41st AD LA County Democratic Party Central Committee.
Disloyalty to Disabled Homeless Veterans
Once again we see how wealth and political manipulation can secretly infiltrate Veterans organizations and corrupt the “needs” of homeless Veterans in lieu of the “wants” of affluent homeowners, as this was executed by a politically-connected Veteran who places his loyalty to well-heeled homeowner friends to build a public park instead of housing for disabled homeless Veterans.
The insidious schemes of Messrs. Halper and Richards on behalf of wealthy homeowners at the expense of disabled homeless Veterans are beyond comprehension, and unfortunately never ending.
In order to further deceive and dissuade the true merits of a National Home with supportive healthcare and a place of camaraderie for fellow Veterans to live and socialize, this rogue twosome is doing the bidding for a cabal to build a public park on a billion-dollar parcel of Veterans land by selling out the deeded housing rights of disabled homeless Veterans “rent-free,” in exchange for a devious welfare rent and food stamp scam.
The renegade operative of Halper & Richards is now advocating a “Permanent Independent Housing” scam to warehouse Veterans far away from the VA to deceptively reduce the number of disabled homeless Veterans.
This con-artist shell game gives the illusion that the homeless Veteran problem is “solved” and therefore no need to build a new and modern Veterans Home, but instead, turn disguised “vacant’ property into a public park and entertainment center controlled by National Parks Services and operated by Veterans Park Conservancy, which is nothing more than a self-serving homeowner group that is hell-bent on evicting disabled homeless Veterans so they can take over stewardship (ownership) of the entire property.
Mr. Richards, on behalf of Mr. Halper and his fat-cat homeowner friends, conducted phony “surveys” at the VA to unilaterally and falsely conclude that homeless Veterans did not want to live in a Veterans Home as provided for in the Deed of 1888 and reinforced by an 1887 Act of Congress and the Veterans Declaration of Enforcement.
Mr. Richards wrote his own “survey” and if any Veteran didn’t vote as he demanded, he executed a personal vendetta by ratting and snitching on them to the VA with fabricated stories and got them evicted and forced back into homelessness.
It’s no coincidence that the VA operated its own trumped-up survey to coincide with Mr. Richards “80%” result as they are both in cahoots to evict all Veterans from these sacred grounds to make way for a public park and entertainment center.
Here’s how Mr. Richard’s summarized the result of his personal trumped-up survey.
“Surveys have revealed that 80% of Veterans do not want to live in Veterans Homes whether on or off VA or other Government Property because they don’t have their total privacy, and because they are subjected to substance abuse testing, curfews, not being able to have overnight guests, and other Rules that are part of this kind of housing. Most of these Veterans say they would rather be homeless than live in this kind of housing.”
Here’s what Command Sergeant Major John W. Jackson, (USA, Retired), a revered Veteran advocate has to say about this kind of survey:
“It appears some do not want to be under any kind of controlled living. Unfortunately, when living in a group situation that comes without cost to the tenant, there are rules. Living on the street also has rules that can put one in jail … for a free hot meal of course, if that is your purpose. Don’t want to live with rules, find a job and pay your own way off the street.”
This responsible and mature answer is the last thing Mr. Richards wants to hear.
That’s because he wrote a Resolution mandating no-rules with free-living conditions to accommodate his own freeloading lifestyle where he’s accountable to nobody at the expense of everybody.
The “Permanent Independent Housing” scam authored by Terry Richards to take taxpayers’ money and live and do as you please without any rules or accountability is his personal agenda and is not for the greater good of disabled homeless Veteran who need access to immediate healthcare and the importance of fellowship and camaraderie that a National Veterans Home provides.
Here’s a further summary of Mr. Richards’ survey twaddle:
“The main reasons these Veterans ave [sic] me for wanting Independent Housing is because they do not want to be subjected to curfews, the inability to have overnight guests, drug and alcohol testing, room inspections, sharing rooms or sharing ”so-called apartments”, and only having curtains rather then [sic] entry doors” to their room in some scenarios found in some Veterans Homes.”
“Independent” means exactly what is, Mr. Richards …. individual self-government. That means you pay your own way through your own means and live as you choose within the laws of society. It does not mean you are free and independent to live on your own terms at the expense of American taxpayers.
Nevertheless, by ignoring the need and necessity for a newly constructed Veterans Home, Mr Richards affords his accomplice, Mr. Halper, the opportunity to conjure up a bogus conclusion that Veterans would be better off with welfare rent and food stamps and living in ramshackle apartments in seedy neighborhoods run by sleazy slumlords.
This is a guaranteed recipe for Veteran suicide — loneliness and despair in a grungy environment with no access to immediate healthcare or Veteran fellowship.
Without any concern for the downside of disabled homeless Veterans, Mr. Richard’s welfare scam would open another door for Mr. Halper and his self-serving “planning expertise” as a Los Angeles City Planning Commissioner to proceed with his unilateral agenda of converting Veterans entire property into a public park and tourist attraction for his wealthy cohorts in neighboring Brentwood and Pacific Palisades and then transfer Veterans property rights over to the Department of Interior and National Parks Services.
Time for Joe to Step Down
Joe Halper’s brazen opposition to building a new and modern Veterans Home defies the simplest expectations of fiduciary duty by a Los Angeles City Planning Commissioner for the greater good of disabled homeless Veterans and their legally deeded property.
Nevertheless, Mr. Halper has lowered himself to disgraceful depths by joining forces with gadfly Terry Richards, an individual who only seeks what’s best for himself with no cost, rules, or accountability, but at the expense of taxpayers, as well as disabled Veterans who are homeless and need immediate humanitarian relief through quality housing and medical care on the VA grounds.
It’s time for Joe Halper to step down for usurping his position as a Los Angeles City Planning Commissioner while acting on behalf of wealthy homeowners and under the ruse of helping homeless Veterans.
Hey Joe, this is Federal property!
This is a National Veterans Home, not a pubic amusement park for your wealthy cronies.
Step down now before you make a bigger embarrassment of yourself.
Time for the VA to Step Up
Los Angeles is our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans. Paradoxically, this is the largest VA property in the nation.
With these known basic facts, a class of second-graders could figure out that the VA is not doing its job.
Even worse, U.S. Attorneys and a Federal Judge have shown no respect or compassion toward disabled homeless Veterans and their land, as they shamefully and defiantly fight against them.
Hey U.S. Judge Otero and Attorney General Holder, this is not a legal challenge, it’s a moral responsibility. Drop the bogus defense and act with honor and respect on behalf of disadvantaged Veterans instead of kowtowing to the privileged and pushy elitists.
It’s time for the VA to accept its fiduciary duty of honoring the Deed of 1888 and Congressional Act of 1887 and evict all the illegal occupants and start construction of a new and modern Veterans Home for disabled homeless Veterans instead of pandering to wealthy homeowners.
Time for Terry Richards to Leave
It remains a mystery as to who Terry Richards really is because he has a dark and checkered past and presence.
A mystery of equal concern is how he was able to arrive homeless in Los Angeles and get himself immediate free room and board at the VA, while 20,000 disabled and disadvantaged Veterans remain homeless and hungry and are forced to live in back-alley squalor.
Like name-changing coastal hurricanes, a Terry Richards whirlwind snuck in and inflicted damage and harm upon innocent people with his false, scurrilous and slanderous assaults and then attempted to undermine years of hard work and dedication on behalf of tens of thousands of disabled and homeless Veterans with his personal, high-and-mighty, self-serving agenda of government freeloading.
His violent path of destruction has done enough devastation in Los Angeles against disabled and disadvantaged homeless Veterans.
Like all devastating hurricanes that have run their course and disappear, it’s time for the current Terry Richards to board a Greyhound bus and move on to his next destination.
With all due respect to unsuspecting cities, we apologize in advance for fast-forwarding this vagabond misfit from Los Angeles onto his next journey of destruction.
God Bless America and the Veterans Revolution!
Bio: U.S. Army, 1965-67, Schofield Barracks, Hqs., U.S Army, Hawaii. Director, Old Veterans Guard; Director, Veterans Revolution
U.S. Army, 1965-67, Schofield Barracks, Hqs., U.S Army, Hawaii. Director, The Veterans Revolution, Captain, the Old Veterans Guard, and Director, We the Veterans.