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Employee behind lavish Las Vegas conference out at GSA

May 24, 2012|By Morgan Little
  • Jeff Neely, the central figure in a General Services Administration spending scandal, sits at the witness table on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Jeff Neely, the central figure in a General Services Administration spending… (J. Scott Applewhite / AP…)

WASHINGTON -- Jeff Neely, the regional director responsible for much of the General Services Administration’s highly controversial $823,000 conference in Las Vegas in 2010, is no longer employed by the agency, a spokesman said.

"GSA is in the process of completing its review of activities associated with the Western Regions Conference and pursuing all available avenues for appropriate disciplinary action against those responsible. Jeff Neely was placed on administrative leave based on his involvement in the WRC. As of today, he’s no longer employed with GSA,” Deputy Press Secretary Adam Elkington said in a statement provided to the Los Angeles Times.

Neely has been silent since the onset of congressional hearings regarding the excessive spending, invoking his 5th Amendment rights as hearing after hearing detailed his practices during his tenure as regional director.

Details of his lavish spending, which have been previously explored by the Times, include lengthy trips to southeastern Asia and Hawaii, a $2,717 private party at his hotel suite that was billed as an awards event for employees, and warnings to Neely’s supervisors pertaining to his travel practices.

Those warnings came from GSA Inspector General Brian Miller, whose report on the Las Vegas conference blew the lid off of the story in April after he was informed of the matter by a whistle-blower within the agency. Martha Johnson, the former GSA administrator, resigned soon afterward, and several other agency employees have  been fired or placed on administrative leave. The House and Senate held extensive hearings to further investigate the agency’s practices, going so far as to file legislation directly in response to the scandal, with more revelations expected in the future.

“We do have other ongoing investigations including all sorts of improprieties, including bribes, possibly kickbacks,” Miller said in a Senate House Oversight and Government Reform panel session April 18.

morgan.little@latimes.com

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