Phoenix VA finally rid of Sharon Helman for greed, not mismanagement


helmanBenjamin Krause has been following former Phoenix VAHC Director Helman’s firing on his blog. The firing was upheld a few days ago.  She improperly accepted lavish gifts from a lobbyist–and her former boss–and failed to report them. There are some whistle-blower hereos in his story and we shall acknowledge and praise them in another post.  

According to Judge Mish’s ruling, the VA brought three charges of misconduct against Helman: Charge 1: Lack of oversight. This was not sustained. Helman wins this one.

Charge 2,  Specification A.  Wrongly put a whisleblower physician on leave (sustained) and Specification B Took gifts from Dennis “Max” Lewis (sustained). Good evidence from the paper/email trail.

Charge 3:  Failure to report gifts in A. 2012 B. 2013  Both years sustained:  VA wins these easily because she lied on forms.

For an overview, this URL links to three good articles:

To read the 61-page ruling: helman pdf. It’s a slow upload but provides a balanced analysis of the case by Judge Mish. He wrote:

“I conclude [she] has little rehabilitative potential…She has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing in the course of this appeal and attempted to deflect attention from her own actions by pointing to political considerations and complaining that the agency has been looking into her private life.”

This is also interesting because the lobbyist works for a company that helps clients get billions in VA business (ex. CBOCs).

This ruling does not bode well for the VA’s ability to sustain charges of Lack of Oversight chillingby lousy administers in future attempts to remove the worst offenders at different VISNs since the judge is shifting that argument back to headquarters and elsewhere–and headquarter’s doesn’t want scrutiny applied to them.  So this ruling could have a chilling effect.  That’s my take on it but you may see it differently.  I also don’t think her administrative career is over for good because she won the first charge and a private healthcare company could hire her and look the other way with regard to her morals.

Link to Merit Systems Protection Board website where Judge Mish’s full 61-page ruling can be found (scroll down). Long loading time.  http://www.mspb.gov/vases/index.htm

Sharon Helman v. Department of Veterans Affairs, DE-0707-15-0091-J-1
(12/22/2014)

She had two lawyers and someone else.  The VA had five lawyers.

Ed. note. This is why I held back so long to pass judgement on Ms. Helman. I think the tip of the iceberg is barely in sight. Who, pray tell, is guilty at Phoenix VAMC if the boss is not?

This entry was posted in VAMC Scheduling Coverup, VAOIG Watchdogs and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Phoenix VA finally rid of Sharon Helman for greed, not mismanagement

  1. steve says:

    the justice dept needs to prosecute that piece of shit. just think how much cheese that rat got that we dont know about . Also if one rat is taking the cheese you can bet the directors of other VAMCs are doing the same thing. At my VAMC in WACO tx, they have planted thousands of rosebuses around the hospital, but refuse to fix the MRI machine ,,, WHAT GIVES? S ounds like someone trying to justify money that was spent/stole’ Im sure if someone looked it up, those 10.00
    dollar wallmart rose bushes likely cost the taxpayer 100.00 a piece. I like roses no doubt, but if my spine is so jacked up’ I cant bend over to smell them, what good are they. FIX THE DAMN MRI MACHINE !!!!

  2. Vicki Foley says:

    It’s also quite probable that she assumed the executives to whom she reported within the VA were like-minded. She may not have expected them to call her hand on the gifts she received because accepting gifts was a long-standing tradition which, although clearly wrong, was one to which her superiors turned a blind eye. That’s why it takes Congress to rid us of people like this.

  3. Vicki Foley says:

    It’s never a question of means with people like this. It’s their belief that they’re owed something, that they’re entitled to more than what they’re getting. They want the faceless masses of taxpayers to foot the bill for a debt that has no boundaries. That, plus the arrogance of office and their belief that they are too clever to be caught. She’ll be hired as a lobbyist most likely. Wish there was a way to prevent that.

  4. hepper74 says:

    Indeed Kiedove. This is just the tip of the iceberg but there is still another day to perhaps win at this and/or a higher level. If she did not know, which is crazy, what was going on then why be in that position?

    • Kiedove says:

      When I get to posting some information about the heroes behind this (VA docs), they name names. But without email evidence etc…getting the administrators fired is going to be hard in this special court for federal unionists. They can claim hearsay by employees without a paper trail–and we know how popular shredding paper is at the VA. What gets me is how a woman who lands such a responsible (well-paying $170K + bonuses) can put it all at risk by falling for airline tickets, Beyonce tickets, etc..Don’t the taxpayers pay her enough to take her own family to Disney for a week?

  5. The most significant of these is Charge 2. The fact that “putting the whistleblower on leave” was sustained now means that VA employees can blow the whistle and not fear for their jobs and, instead, bosses who retaliate on whistleblowers are the ones who need to fear their jobs.

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