Skip to main content

Report: Local VA official used position of authority to get new job, moving expenses

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

A local Veterans Affairs official is accused of benefiting personally and financially after arranging her own transfer from the East Coast to Minnesota, and claiming thousands of dollars in moving expenses.

Kimberly Graves, the current director of the St. Paul Regional Benefit Office, and another high-level official with the Veterans Benefits Administration are accused of using their position of authority to orchestrate new job openings for themselves, and then volunteering to fill them, a statement from the VA's Office of Inspector General says.

Graves' reassignment resulted in "a significant decrease in job responsibilities", yet she retained her salary of $173,949. Graves also claimed $129,467.56 in expenses associated with her move to Minnesota, the statement says.

Federal regulations do not allow the VA to reduce her annual salary upon reassignment, but the agency is looking into whether to require the women to repay relocation costs and what – if any – administrative action should be taken against them, the statement says.

The Office of the Inspector General has also referred the two cases to a federal prosecutor for possible charges, the Star Tribune reports.

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., called the accusations "outrageous" in a statement, saying "VA officials manipulating the trust and placing their own personal benefit before the needs of veterans is unacceptable," KSTP reports.

This investigation began in March when members of the House and Senate committees on Veterans' Affairs requested the Office of Inspector General investigate allegations concerning financial benefits and preference given at the VA following an anonymous tip.

The investigation also found that in several cases Veterans Benefits Administration management moved senior executives as a method to justify annual salary increases and paid moving expenses for these employees. The Inspector General's Office is now calling for increased oversight when it comes to relocations and associated expenses.

This is the latest arm of the Department of Veterans Affairs to come under scrutiny in recent months. The Veterans Health Administration has been criticized after dozens of patients died while waiting for treatment at VA hospitals.

Next Up

8470850644_ccecdfb7ed_b

Ringo Starr's late cancellation of MN show was because he has COVID-19

The Beatles drummer was due to perform in Minnesota Sunday.

Screen Shot 2022-10-03 at 4.32.58 PM

Fire destroys cafe, two other business properties in downtown Fairfax

A former pizza joint was also destroyed, while two other properties were damaged.

Hennepin County Medical Center, HCMC

Woman dies from injuries in crash that killed her husband, another man

The couple in their 80s died in the collision near Lake Lillian.

CPAP masks

2 Park Nicollet employees convicted of embezzling $500,000

The pair worked at a CPAP clinic in St. Louis Park.

Concert

No Jingle Ball this year? Twin Cities left off iHeartRadio holiday tour

The annual touring event usually visits the Xcel Energy Center.

Target store

Target gives first look at some of its Deal Days discounts

The Minneapolis retailer is holding its Deal Days event earlier than ever, in an attempt to drive sales after a turbulent year.

Screen Shot 2022-10-03 at 11.03.12 AM

Man dies after crashing truck into western Wisconsin lake

The victim was unable to make it to shore despite being able to get out of his truck.

ATV, all-terrain vehicle

Sheriff: Man who didn't return to campsite died in ATV crash

It happened at the Foothills State Forest and Spider Lake ATV Recreation Area

Richard Liu, aka Liu Qiangdong

Chinese billionaire settles lawsuit over alleged rape in Minneapolis

The tech billionaire was accused of sexually assaulting a University of Minnesota student in 2018.

US Navy Flickr - COVID hospital PPE nurse

Frontline worker payments: Over a million Minnesotans to get $487.45

Gov. Tim Walz says the payments will start going out on Wednesday.

19050650853_a4a6377429_k

Ed Sheeran to bring North America stadium tour to Minneapolis

It's the second show announced for the Vikings stadium in 2023.

Related

New VA clinic approved for SE Minn.

The Veterans Administration will construct a new community-based outpatient clinic in southeastern Minnesota, according to the Austin Daily Herald. It will provide primary health care services and mental health counseling to area veterans. The tentative opening date is sometime between late 2013 and early 2014.