By Robert L. Rosebrock
LOS ANGELES – Fifty years and one day after Dr. Martin Luther King’s legendary “I Have a Dream” speech, a Federal Judge entered a Summary Judgment against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for engaging in illegal real estate dealings with alleged sharing agreements at the largest VA in the nation.
On August 29, Judge S. James Otero issued a Court Order that was brief and explicit as a total of nine unlawful sharing agreements exploiting Veterans property were terminated in just nine words: “These agreements are unauthorized by law, and therefore void.”
Thus, he enforced what everybody knew … that these agreements are fraudulent … including a public park arrangement with Veterans Park Conservancy which is a local homeowner group, UCLA’s state-of-the-art baseball stadium, Brentwood School’s private athletic complex, Westside Breakers private soccer field, Sodexo-Marriott Hotel laundry facility, Twentieth Century Fox storage facilities, et al.
After years of battling the VA over this scam, Veterans declared victory in this landmark lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU) and their formidable legal team headed by Mark Rosenbaum, with co-counsels that represent some of America’s most successful law firms along with the best legal scholars in the nation.
In filing the lawsuit, they had concluded what John Rowan, the national President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), unabashedly reaffirmed, that the VA sharing agreements are “unethical and blatantly illegal.” VVA is a Plaintiff in this victorious lawsuit.
On September 1, members and supporters of the Old Veterans Guard (OVG) gathered for their 285th consecutive Sunday Rally of the Veterans Revolution to “Save Our Veterans Home” and to “Bring Our Homeless Veterans HOME.”
Fellow Veterans humbly rejoiced in this legal victory over the VA, which had secretly manipulated unlawful land deals at the painful expense of disabled and homeless Veterans for whom this property was exclusively deeded 125 years ago.
As a result of this egregious misappropriation of Veterans property, Los Angeles has become our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans, while the Los Angeles VA has become a national disgrace.
Veterans Promissory Note is a Forged Check
In Dr. King’s famed Civil Rights speech, he admonished our Government’s breach of the ‘promissory note’ enshrined in our Declaration of Independence that pledges equality for all, along with the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
“Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds’ “, he justly and morally proclaimed.
The Veterans “Promised Land” in Los Angeles is a national debt with a ‘promissory note’ that’s collateralized by an 1887 Act of Congress and a legal Deed of 1888, instituting an inviolable sacred trust that mandates our Federal Government to “permanently maintain a National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.”
The “Home” is not an act of charity, but an earned reward that would forever warrant safe shelter and care for disabled and impoverished Veterans, beginning with Volunteer Soldiers of the Union Army who bravely fought against slavery during the Civil War.
For more than a century, grateful Americans patriotically honored this moral responsibility.
Then, the modern-day robber barons and land hustlers snuck in and cut backroom deals with corrupt VA bureaucrats and complicit politicians as this hallowed land was pillaged, plundered and leased for non-Veteran use.
The U.S. Attorneys who defended the Government in this lawsuit, claimed it was necessary for the VA to lease land so that it could generate revenue to provide healthcare services for our disabled Veterans.
Are these scoundrels advocating that America’s taxpayers have “insufficient funds” to pay for the medical care of those who became disabled while defending our nation’s freedom and safety?
This is blasphemous!
The Los Angeles VA has an annual budget of more than $750 million ($750,000,000) that is funded through Congress, yet the VA bureaucrats contend they do not have enough money to provide healthcare services for our disabled Veterans.
This is criminal!
The notion that the VA should lease this land to help fund medical services for our disabled Veterans is as preposterous as Congress leasing the front lawn of the White House to help pay Secret Service police to protect our Commander-in-Chief, or leasing the grounds and facilities on our military bases to help finance our Troops to defend America’s freedom.
It’s not at all surprising that there’s nearly $40 million still unaccounted for in the VA’s leasing arrangements over the years, while another $200,000 was embezzled from green fees at the public golf course on Veterans property.
Nor, is it any secret that the VA is notorious for handing out $50,000 bonuses to employees who are incompetent.
Nevertheless, there’s a 2.5 acre oil field on Veterans’ property that’s leased to BreitBurn Energy Partners, a private entity “that may drill until the production life of the field ends,” with royalties going to the Department of Interior and not a penny toward Veteran healthcare services.
There’s a public dog park and recreational park on 12 acres that’s been occupied by the City of Los Angeles for years with no lease agreement or payments, along with Richmark Entertainment Group, a Hollywood conglomerate, operating two Veteran theaters for public use without a bona fide lease agreement or any accountability.
On August 24, 2007, at the peak of the Iraqi and Afghanistan Wars, the VA sacrilegiously entered into an illegal sharing agreement with an affluent and influential homeowner group operating under the ruse of Veterans Park Conservancy, leasing them a 16-acre, billion-dollar parcel of Veterans land — “rent free” — to build a public park “for the enjoyment of the entire community.”
Clearly, such counterfeit agreements were never intended to generate revenue for Veteran healthcare services by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, this was a calculated scheme to deny needy Veterans access to their own National Home so that non-Veteran entities could take over and create self-serving uses for their own benefit as well as on their own terms.
This unprecedented land-fraud racket is a multi-billion dollar forgery that exiled tens of thousands of homeless Veterans from their Promised Land for the benefit of an elite few, mostly by those who never wore our Nation’s Uniform.
Consider how little our government has progressed over the last half-century as it continues to abuse and neglect one of our most esteemed minority groups, “Veterans,” who represent less than 8% of our nation’s population while protecting the other 92%.
Our Government’s default on the ‘promissory note’ to the Veterans Home and the forgery by non-Veteran entities who confiscated it, undermines everything that Dr. King stood and fought for during the “Negro Revolution.”
Enter the Veterans Revolution
On March 9, 2008, the peaceful and non-violent “Veterans Revolution” was established to bring an end to this rampant mismanagement, malfeasance and misappropriation of Veterans property at the Los Angeles National Veterans Home, aka the VA Greater West Los Angeles Healthcare System, and to stop the abuse and maltreatment of our fellow Veterans who are disabled, disadvantaged and homeless.
The OVG is an all-volunteer group of elderly Veterans who serve in the Veterans Revolution to loyally defend, protect and preserve the National Veterans Home from the very people who are entrusted to watch over these sacred grounds, i.e., the VA’s civil servants and our elected public servants.
Instead of honoring their public trust, these cunning imposters operated as the infamous “wolves in sheep clothing” and the OVG has stood firm in our commitment to unmask these fraudsters and expose their unlawful activities.
“Life and Property are in Extreme Danger”
In order to bring public attention to our cause, the OVG holds Sunday afternoon rallies to peacefully protest this land heist of Biblical proportion.
These peaceful Rallies infuriated the VA bureaucrats who ordered armed VA police to monitor, harass, intimidate, spy upon and photograph our rag-tag army of Veterans in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
Obsessed with vengeful hostility and resentment, VA executive director Donna Beiter ordered her police chief, Ronald Mathis, to issue six false arrest citations against me for hanging the American Flag inversely on the outward side of the front gate to the VA, albeit a chained and padlocked front gate next to where homeless Veterans often sleep.
This American Flag display is an internationally recognized symbol of distress (U.S. Flag Code, Sec. 176 (a), which we legally used to warn the public that the lives of disabled and homeless Veterans and their legally deeded property are in extreme danger.
All six trumped-up arrest citations were dismissed in U.S. Federal Court after we contacted the ACLU, who filed a lawsuit on March 16, 2010 against Ms. Beiter and Mr. Mathis for viewpoint discrimination.
On May 26, 2011, Judge S. James Otero rendered his decision, ruling in our favor: “Plaintiff’s First Amendment right was violated as a matter of law when Defendants committed impermissible viewpoint discrimination” … “Defendants selective enforcement was an effort to suppress the Plaintiff’s activity due to disagreement with his view.”
In sum, Donna Beiter and her police chief violated our Civil Rights by censoring and suppressing our Constitutional Right to Free Speech, specifically in opposition to our international signal of distress forewarning the public “that life and property are in extreme danger.”
Mr. Mathis did the honorable thing and resigned while Ms. Beiter is still employed by our U.S. Government, pulling down a hefty six-figure salary and in full violation of her oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
ACLU Sues the VA – Again!
On June 7, 2011, two weeks after the aforementioned ruling against Defendants Beiter and Mathis, the ACLU filed another lawsuit, this one against VA Secretary General Eric K. Shinseki … and you guessed it … Donna Beiter, for misusing Veterans property and abusing disabled homeless Veterans, which reinforced our displaying the international symbol of distress, warning the public that the lives of disabled and homeless Veterans and their property are in extreme danger.
On August 29, 2013, Judge S. James Otero, who oversaw the first ACLU lawsuit, entered a Judgment against Defendants Shinseki and Beiter for engaging in unlawful use of Veterans property.
Meanwhile, the lives of more than 20,000 disabled and disadvantaged Veterans remain in extreme danger as they are forced to live homeless and hungry in back-alley squalor while trying to survive on the crime-ridden streets of Los Angeles.
Donna Beiter now has two strikes against her and she must be removed from public trust before she does even greater harm against more innocent Veterans.
Donna Beiter not only violated Federal law by misappropriating Veterans property at the horrific expense of disabled homeless Veterans, but she is in full violation of her oath of office to support and defend the U.S. Constitution.
General Shinseki has now been adjudged in Federal Court for illegal use of Veterans property, and he is also in violation of his own oath of office for refusing to terminate Ms. Beiter for violating the U.S. Constitution.
Moreover, General Shinseki allowed ten (10) US Government Attorneys and millions of taxpayers’ money to falsely defend him of the very charges we forewarned about, which have been reinforced in Judge Otero’s recent Judgment.
For the greater good, Defendants Shinseki and Beiter must be removed from Government employment, posthaste.
During his August 15th U.S. Court Hearing and subsequent final Ruling, Judge Otero stressed the necessity of conforming to plain language in Federal statutes that allowed third parties to provide healthcare services through VA property or facilities, stating that it must be “clear and unambiguous.”
He proclaimed: “The Court first examines the plain language of the statute as the best evidence of Congress’s intent. Here, Congress’s intent is clearly expressed in the statute itself.”
Thus, there was never any doubt that these alleged sharing agreements that the VA had entered into violated Federal statute and were unquestionably illegal and duplicitous. Moreover, by taking away from disabled homeless Veterans and forcing them to live in danger and destitution, they violated the international moral law of doing unto others.
In plain language, what Donna Beiter and fellow VA bureaucrat Ralph Tillman orchestrated in consortium with powerful politicians, is collusion and grand-theft that swindled disabled homeless Veterans of their rightful and legal Home.
Without comparison, this is the biggest and most shameful land-fraud scam in American history.
Even worse, these charlatans committed gross negligence and Human Rights violations against disabled and homeless Veterans, the very men and women who have sacrificed their own safety for our nation’s safety. And these ingrates did it shamelessly and under the subterfuge of “honoring our veterans.”
In the plainest of language, there must be uncompromised FBI, Congressional and Federal Grand Jury Investigations into this unprecedented misappropriation of Federal property including crimes against humanity, and the perpetrators must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Fighting For Our Own
The OVG has written Congressman Henry Waxman, who is the elected public servant entrusted to oversee this VA property, requesting that he demand the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice immediately denounce any notion or plans to Appeal the Court’s Judgment against the VA by formally withdrawing any and all possible Appeal options.
We have not heard back from the Congressman.
In the meantime, President Obama is working diligently to convince Congress to vote for a U.S. Military strike against Syria.
Why is our U.S. Government trying to wage war with another country for illegal use of weapons and abusing its citizenry, when this same U.S. Government is fighting a lawsuit over its own illegal use of Veterans property and abusing our disabled and homeless Veterans?
Why would our Commander-in-Chief and Congress spend so much time and money defending other countries and their citizens when our own U.S Government abuses the very men and women who wage war at their behest?
It’s time to take care of our own, first and foremost, and let other countries fight their own battles. We’ve suffered enormous American casualties on behalf of other countries, and now our own Government shamefully neglects these brave men and women when they come back physically, mentally and emotionally disabled.
It’s imperative that the VA immediately resolve the disgraceful backlog of hundreds of thousands of Veteran disability claims before the President and Congress send one more American Troop into harm’s way.
A Demand for Legal and Moral Justice
While we have a plethora of physically, mentally and emotionally disabled Veterans, we tragically have a VA administrative staff that is morally disabled.
On one hand, the Los Angeles VA arrested a disabled homeless combat Veteran for collecting bottles and cans on VA property as a means of survival, and on the other hand, these same administrators gave away a billion-dollar parcel of Federal property rent-free for a public park instead of building supportive housing and care.
To underscore the magnitude of our problems, David Bischoff, a decorated combat Veteran of the Vietnam War and member of the OVG, forewarns what’s at stake: “There’s a tsunami of disabled war Veterans coming in from the Middle East and the biggest war they will ever fight is waiting for them on American soil.”
Roy Crummer, a Vietnam-era Veteran and member of the OVG staunchly invoked our most patriotic duty: “No Veteran left behind.”
Larry Kegel, also a Vietnam-era Veteran and OVG member asserts this: “We need new leadership at the Los Angeles VA and the top priority must be to immediately evict all illegal occupiers on our land and to provide our disabled and homeless Veterans with appropriate housing and care.”
Common sense and moral responsibility dictate that the Los Angeles VA must change dramatically, and quickly.
In addition to new leadership, the VA must immediately establish an emergency Humanitarian Relief Project with provisional housing on these grounds to care for the tens of thousands of homeless Veterans in Los Angeles.
The OVG will continue its vigilant watch on behalf of disabled and homeless Veterans, demanding that justice be delivered without compromise to restore the legal and moral use of this property.
Correspondingly, the OVG and the National Veterans Coalition formally request that an emergency shelter be immediately implemented; that the dysfunctional and rat-infested buildings (205, 208, 209, et al.) be demolished; and an all new Veterans Home be built on these revered grounds.
Celebrating Our Veteran Heroes
At our 285th Sunday’s Rally, we also celebrated the patriotic life of Newt Young, an 84-year old Korean War Marine Combat Veteran and loyal member of the OVG.
Newt stood guard every Sunday for four years until his recent passing. His wife Evelyn, daughter, son-in-law and grandson attended the ceremony as fellow Veterans shared fond memories of this true American Patriot.
The OVG is very proud to announce our newest and oldest member, Aldo Dipre`, a 94-year old World War II Veteran who attended Sunday’s Rally.
Aldo was an inspiration to everyone who joined Sunday’s celebration as he was super active on the “front line” displaying signs of Victory from his wheel chair to passing motorists at one of the busiest intersections in West Los Angeles.
True to his patriotic spirit and dedication to his fellow Veterans, Aldo has assured us that he will be coming back on Sundays to pull more guard duty.
Did I mention Aldo is 94 and in a wheel chair?
So why aren’t younger, able-bodied Veterans showing up for duty?
God Bless America and the 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.
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