Military Advantage

VA Favors Oil & Profits Over Homeless

Land specifically deeded in 1888 to VA in West Los Angeles to house homeless veterans is the focus of a new class action lawsuit filed by the ACLU. Almost 400 acres of land was left to the VA to specifically house homeless veterans. The VA respected the legal intent of the grantors until the 1960’s, when it re-allocated the use of over 100 acres of the property to private interests and other uses. The amount and use of the lease money paid to the VA is undisclosed.

Currently, the uses are as follows:

  • Private oil wells use 2.5 acres
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Tumbleweed Trans lease 10 acres for vehicle storage
  • Marriott Hotels & Resorts have a laundry facility for area luxury hotels
  • Brentwood Private School used 20 acres for their sports arenas
  • Richmark Entertainment leases the veterans’ theater for commercial gain
Sadly, the list and stories go on and on from there. For example, Richmark Entertainment is leasing the Wadsworth Theater, which was originally constructed with taxpayer dollars to entertain veterans. Instead, Richmark makes a profit while charging veterans and civilians full price for tickets in a facility it has no business using. There is no public accounting for this lease nor where the money for the lease is going. Certainly the funds are not going to help house the veterans for whom the land was supposed to be used.

Instead of honoring the intent of the grantor to develop permanent housing for disabled veterans in the greater Los Angeles area, VA executives have chosen to bring even more dishonor to the Department of Veterans Affairs. LA is considered the homeless veteran capital of the America. It used to provide housing for many brave men and women. Mysteriously, it now disregards the plight of veterans for an undisclosed profit margin.

The class action lawsuit hopes to force VA’s hand in using the currently unused buildings to implement the homeless veteran reduction plan first given lip service by President Obama. Currently, the campus only provides short-term services to veterans but long-term profits to corporations on land cited as being the most valuable VA land on the West Coast.  While VA has received increased funding for developing housing for chronically homeless veterans, it has not even utilized the buildings and land currently under its control. Therefore, who is to say it will actually address the issues identified as the targets of the increased funding, now over $900 million.

It is sad to live in a day when the government officials hired to take care of disabled veterans completely disregard their own missions. Instead, we have a corrupt corporate culture that has infiltrated the ranks of the Department of Veterans Affairs. This corrupt group refuses to implement the programs for which taxpayer dollars have been allocated. Currently, corporate profits and unjustifiable bonuses have replaced accountability and purpose.

 

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