The former head of Louisiana's Veterans Affairs Department lied about his military background, covered up crimes at veterans' homes and mismanaged money. Those accusations appear in report released February 1 by Louisiana's legislative auditor and inspector general.
But, here's the kicker, that is not all Louisiana's former veterans secretary, Dave LaCerte, is being accused of in the report.
LaCerte is also accused of improperly funneling funds to a company owned by former law school classmates and inflating travel expenses.
What does the former head of Louisiana's VA have to say about the accusations?
Well, his attorney, Jarrett Ambeau of Baton Rouge, denied all of the investigation's findings in a letter to Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera.
"The Joint Investigation Report's findings are patently false, blatant character assassination and appear to be a calculated attack on the integrity and credibility for (LaCerte)," Ambeau wrote.
David LaCerte abruptly resigned Oct. 8, at the height of the investigation by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera and state Inspector General Stephen Street.
The investigation looked at LaCerte's tenure at the Department of Veterans Affairs, from July 1, 2010, through Oct. 8, 2015, during which time he worked as deputy secretary, interim secretary and secretary for former Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration.
Some of the findings in Joint Investigative Report are below.
Investigators say LaCerte paid more than $44,000 to a company owned by two of his law school classmates without a proper consulting contract and with no evidence that work was done.
It was also found that the former head of Louisiana's Veterans Affairs Department used more than $27,000 in federal funds earmarked for a Slidell veterans cemetery to instead buy a sport utility vehicle used by department staff to transport LaCerte and other employees to meetings and events, even though LaCerte received a $500 monthly stipend to use his personal vehicle for state business.
The report also accused one department employee of stealing from a resident in a veterans home and another of lying on medical records when a resident died after suffering from a fall. Investigators discovered that 34 incident reports had been deleted from the system while another 82 duplicate reports were also improperly discarded.
Investigators also say LaCerte's military service record doesn't match claims in his department biography or resume. There were questions about claims that he had fought in Afghanistan shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and had interrogated Taliban fighters.
And those are not all that investigators found. You can read the entire official report here.
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