U.S. Office of Overseas Schools Mishandled $3 Million in Grants
February 14, 2022
The U.S. Office of Overseas Schools is a federal agency designed to help U.S. government employees abroad send their children to good, safe schools that meet American educational standards.
While they have undoubtedly helped thousands of U.S. children abroad receive a good education, their woeful mismanagement has led to over $3,000,000 that “could have been put to better use”, according to an Inspector General Report. That may not seem like much in terms of government spending, but it constitutes $1 in every $4 of grant funding during a typical year.
Administratively, their office has struggled with standardizing procedures and sharing information, which led to not only inefficiencies, but safety and security issues. The report claims that “office staff did not coordinate or share information among themselves, resulting in overseas schools and embassy staff having to provide information multiple times in response to separate requests.”
The Inspector General also found that the Office of Overseas Schools “did not prepare risk assessments and monitoring plans for its grants.” These are important because “they provide tools…to mitigate the impact of risks prior to making an award. They also define oversight steps…to ensure that award objectives have been met.”
So, they didn’t have a plan to make sure grants were going to the right people, and they never followed up on if the grantees ever followed through on their projects.
The greatest financial malpractice, however, comes from their failure to review unliquidated obligations and are supposed to be “de-obligated” within 90-days of the performance deadline. The report found that “21 awards had unliquidated obligations totaling $3.05 million.” These open transactions tied up other money that could have been used for legitimate purposes.
It is depressing that such a large sum of money wasn’t handled with care, both because the taxpayers paid for it and because the education of children hangs in the balance.
Disgraced State University of New York Chancellor Gets $450,000 Paid Leave Package
February 15, 2022
Former State University of New York Chancellor James Malatras will make a cool $450,000 for a one year paid “study leave” after being pressured into resigning his position for allegedly smearing one of Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment accusers, according to an investigation by the New York Post.
Even though he was pressured by lawmakers, faculty, and even New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Malatras will still be employed as a tenured faculty member at SUNY Empire College after his leave, where he will make a $186,660 annual salary.
Malatras started as a policy advisor and Director of State Operations to former NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, advising him through the early stages of the Covid pandemic around the time that Cuomo instituted policy that returned Covid-positive patients to nursing homes.
Then, in August of 2020, Malatras was appointed to serve as Chancellor of the SUNY system, where he made a salary of $359,630, according to data from OpenTheBooks.com compiled via the NY freedom of information law.
Malatras was pressured to resign over his lack of professional conduct, which came out during the investigation into Cuomo’s sexual assault allegations. The SUNY University Faculty Senate said in a statement that, “Not only did he not push back against the toxic work environment that we now know characterized that administration, he also contributed to its polarized, ‘take no prisoners’ culture.”
Malatras reportedly told a female subordinate “You have a f—king bad attitude on everything, lady,” as well as texted a fellow Cuomo aide “Malatras to Boylan: Go f–k yourself.” Lindsey Boylan was one of the 11 women that accused Cuomo of sexual assault. He also said about Boylan “Let’s release some of her cray [crazy] emails!”
Unprofessional and disparaging comments about female subordinates and sexual assault survivors should be met with contempt and disgust. Instead, the government has rewarded Malatras with almost a half million dollar paid leave, and secure employment.
South Florida Man Buys Lamborghini, Rolex, and More with Fraudulent $2.1 Million PPP Loan
February 16, 2022
When the pandemic hit in 2020, Congress quickly passed the CARES Act, which included provisions for the Paycheck Protection Program, which was designed to rush money out the door to small businesses that need relief.
Sadly, many took advantage of the lax oversight the government gave to PPP loans. Valesky Barosy, for example, received $2.1 million in PPP loans, which he then allegedly used to buy “a Lamborghini Huracán EVO, Rolex and Hublot watches, and designer clothing from Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Chanel," according to a Department of Justice press release.
Barosy, a 27-year-old Florida resident, worked with several accomplices to allegedly falsify prior year expenses, net profit, payroll figures, and tax returns to apply for $4.2 million in PPP loans, of which they received $2.1 million. They have since been federally indicted on five counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, and one count of aggravated identity theft, which could total up to 132 years in federal prison if convicted.
How was it so easy to get $2.1 million from the federal government?
Blame poor oversight from the Small Business Administration, which administered the funds. As we previously reported in this column, the SBA Inspector General found that potentially $3.6 billion of Covid relief money went to ineligible recipients. This was due to the SBA not cross referencing the US Treasury’s “Do Not Pay” Working System, as well as ignoring previous red flags associated with certain applications.
Most of the blame certainly goes to the criminal that committed the crime. But the government has a responsibility to do everything in its power to make sure your tax dollars are being used for the right purposes and not for luxury cars and watches.
Throwback Thursday–$11,335 Air Force Survey Considered Whether to Allow Umbrellas
February 17, 2022
The long-debated question of whether men in at least one branch of the military should be allowed to use umbrellas was finally put to rest in 1979, when the U.S. Air Force spent $3,000 — $11,335 in 2021 dollars — on a survey of whether men in uniform should be given the courtesy of keeping dry.
The six-month study won the Air Force a Golden Fleece award from Sen. William Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin who handed out the awards for wasteful and nonsensical spending.
“I hate to throw cold water on this exercise,” Proxmire said then. “But the taxpayers are the ones getting soaked.”
He noted that for years, the U.S. Air Force Uniform Board has been asked if it were proper for male uniformed Air Force members to carry umbrellas. The answer always came back a resounding no since it was deemed out of image for an Air Force male to carry or use an umbrella while in uniform.
So, between Nov. 1, 1978, and April 30, 1979, the Air Force Uniform Board conducted an umbrella test.
For six months, airmen were given the option of using a standard black or blue umbrella if they wanted.
A random sample of 1,700 Pentagon-based Air Force males was designed and according to the survey research experts, the survey would be 95 percent reliable.
Following the survey, in 1979 male Air Force officers were given permission to carry umbrellas.
The U.S. Army and Navy have also long authorized umbrellas for use by both sexes but it wasn’t until 2019 that male Marines were given the same courtesy.
While policy was changed after the $3,000 survey, it’s a wonder why it was needed in the first place.
Illinois Congresswoman Under Investigation for Allegedly Promising Employment to Political Opponent
February 18, 2022
Illinois is the Super Bowl of corruption.
Illinois Congresswoman Marie Newman, a Democrat from Illinois’ 3rd district, is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly convincing a potential political opponent to not to run against her by promising him a job on her staff if she won.
The Office for Congressional Ethics, an independent watchdog group, released a report explaining their “substantial reason to believe” that Rep. Newman promised federal employment to Iymen Chehade, and referred her case to the House Ethics Committee, who will begin an official investigation.
According to the report, Rep. Newman promised Chehade (then a 2020 campaign advisor to Newman) federal employment if she won the race. Chehade claims that he didn’t run against Newman in the 2020 primaries because of that promise of a position in her Congressional office. The two even signed a contract!
When Chehade did not receive a position with Rep. Newman’s office after she won, he sued her for breach of contract, which is how the Office of Congressional Ethics caught wind of this in the first place. Newman’s own attorney admitted that this contract was in violation of House employment and federal contracting rules. The breach of contract case has been settled with a non-disclosure agreement. The investigation now centers around whether “Rep. Newman may have promised Mr. Chehade federal employment for the purposes of procuring his political support,” which could be a violation of federal law.
A spokesperson for Newman said that the OCE review stemmed from a “politically-motivated” complaint from a right-wing organization and that the materials produced during the probe “overwhelmingly demonstrate that the ethics complaint is completely meritless.”
The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.