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Troubled VA facility boots groups that help veterans

The nearly 390-acre Los Angeles Veterans Affairs facility, given to the nation to help veterans more than a century ago, was found last year to have been under corrupt leadership.

An official was prosecuted for taking “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from a vendor that defrauded the VA out of millions.”

It’s also been controversial because of the many other operations it allows on its valuable land. It allows a parking lot for upscale shopping, a university baseball stadium, a dog park for dog walkers of nearby affluent families and athletic fields for a nearby prep school.

But now, according to government watchdog Judicial Watch, which has investigated the site for years, officials are addressing some of the concerns.

By booting from the property several companies that provided services to veterans.

“The Los Angeles Veterans Affairs 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,” Judicial Watch said.

“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.”

Five nonprofits that are “dedicated to providing veterans with therapeutic activities, counseling and other valuable survival skills have been evicted,” Judicial Watch said.

“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.”

The property includes the National Veterans Park and Veterans Home, which once had thousands of disabled veterans living there.

There were churches, theaters, a library and post office. But in the 1960s and 1970s, the VA quietly closed them down. 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 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,” Judicial Watch said.

The misbehavior attracted the attention of the Old Veterans Guard, which protested at the site for nearly a decade. The conflict came to a head in 2016 when a veteran named Robert Rosebrock was criminally charged for posting a pair of inches-long American flags on the fence there.

He eventually was acquitted.

Judicial Watch also sued the VA police and other agency officials for violating Rosebrock’s and his fellow protesters’ constitutional rights. It sued the VA twice for documents related to the non-veteran use of the Los Angeles facility.

It was discovered, Judicial Watch said, the VA paid private businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars to reimburse them for terminating unlawful lease agreements.