Sunday, February 10, 2019
The Los Angeles Veterans Affairs (VA) facility that illegally rents its sprawling grounds to institutions that don't serve veterans just evicted several groups dedicated to veterans, including a nonprofit that for decades has comforted dying vets and another that helps those who are disabled. While the VA gave the volunteer organizations the boot without offering an explanation, it continues housing a parking lot for nearby upscale shops, a university baseball stadium, a dog park for the professional dog walkers of affluent residents, and athletic fields for a fancy prep school.
It marks the latest of several scandals involving the misuse of this VA property, where a top official pleaded guilty to multiple felonies last year for taking bribes from a parking lot operator that defrauded the agency out of millions. This month at least five established nonprofits dedicated to providing veterans with therapeutic activities, counseling and other valuable survival skills have been evicted while private businesses that don't benefit vets remain. The Jewish War Veterans is among the organizations that just got kicked out along with Twilight Brigade, the Disabled American Veterans, Vet-to-Vet and the Association for Parrot C.A.R.E., which provides therapeutic activities for vets at its parrot sanctuary. A local newspaper reported the latest travesty at the southern California VA this week, but Judicial Watch has for years investigated, sued and obtained government documents involving the VA's illegal use of this parcel.
The 338-acre property in West Los Angeles, which includes the National Veterans Park and Veterans Home, was deeded to the federal government in 1888 for the specific purpose of caring for disabled veterans. Thousands of disabled veterans once lived on the grounds, which also had churches, theaters, a library and post office. In the 1960s and 1970s the VA quietly closed the facilities, according to the American Legion, and ousted mentally disabled veterans. In recent years, the property has been used for many causes unrelated to veterans. Among them is a stadium for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) baseball team, an athletic complex for a nearby private high school, laundry facilities for a local hotel, storage and maintenance of production sets for 20th Century Fox Television, the Brentwood Theatre, soccer practice and match fields for a private girls' soccer club, a dog park, and a farmer's market.
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