Monday, June 22, 2009
Walpin Scandal Sprouts A Leg
The Washington Times starts Obama's week off with a bang:
Now here is where the story gets really interesting. On the very same day that the president fired Mr. Walpin, St. Hope's executive director, Rick Maya, left his job at St. Hope. He did not go quietly. His resignation letter charged Mr. Johnson and several St. Hope board members with numerous ethical violations. Most explosively, he charged that a board member improperly deleted e-mails of Mr. Johnson's that already were under a federal subpoena.And just as suddenly, I'm very interested in this Rick Maya fellow. So is the FBI.
Suddenly, the problems at St. Hope begin to look as severe as Mr. Walpin had charged rather than being minor infractions.
From that same link, a St. HOPE timeline:
1989: Johnson founds non-profit St. HOPE corporation in Oak Park, focusing on education, economic development, civic leadership and arts.
2003: St. HOPE takes over Johnson's alma mater, Sacramento High School, and converts it to charter school.
March 5, 2008: Johnson announces his candidacy for mayor.
April 25, 2008: The Sacramento Bee reports that St. HOPE program known has Hood Corps is under investigation for possible misuse of federal funding and failure to report a claim of sexual abuse against Johnson.
Inspector General Gerald Walpin completes investigation and sends it to U.S. attorney in Sacramento.
Sept. 25, 2008: Walpin releases report saying Hood Corps volunteers were used to run personal errands for Johnson, wash his car and campaign for school board candidates. Johnson and St. HOPE are placed on list barring them from receiving federal funding. Johnson says the problems are nothing more than "administrative mistakes."
Nov. 4, 2008: Johnson defeats incumbent Heather Fargo.
March 21, 2009: The Sacramento Bee reports that an independent attorney has warned that the city's federal stimulus funding may be at risk because of Johnson's status.
March 23, 2009: Acting U.S. Attorney Larry Brown tells KCRA 3 his office is negotiating a civil settlement with Johnson and St. HOPE and expects resolution within a matter of weeks.
April 3, 2009: St. HOPE Executive Director Rick Maya resigns and accuses a board member of erasing Johnson e-mails during the St. HOPE investigation. Later, Maya will receive a severance package of $98,916.
April 9, 2009: Acting U.S. Attorney Larry Brown announces he has reached a civil settlement with St. HOPE and Johnson. The mayor and St. HOPE will repay roughly half the misused money in exchange for being allowed to receive future federal funding.
June 10, 2009: Inspector General Gerald Walpin is informed by a White House official that he is being terminated by the White House. Walpin says, "I was fired because I did my job."
June 12, 2009: Sen. Charley Grassley, R-Iowa, writes a letter to the agency overseeing Americorps saying he is "very concerned" about Walpin's dismissal. Grassley asks administration officials to provide e-mails and other documents.
June 16, 2009: Johnson says Walpin's dismissal was "100 percent within the purview of the administration. ... Obviously I was not consulted in that decision."
June 17, 2009: The U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento says that the FBI has begun an investigation into allegations of deleted e-mails at ST HOPE.