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4 years ago

Alabama VA employee took vet to crack house to buy drugs, solicit prostitute

Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System
Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System

A Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System (CAVHCS) employee took a recovering vet to a crack house in Tuskegee to buy illegal drugs and solicit a prostitute, but is still employed by the VA over a year after the events occurred, according to a report by the Montgomery Advertiser.

An internal investigation also found the employee to be guilty of a wide range of other infractions, including “patient abuse, misuse of government vehicles, filing false overtime requests and multiple ethics violations.” But according to the CAVHCS employee directory, the individual is still employed by the VA. It is unclear if any administrative or criminal action was ever taken against the individual.

The VA’s official investigative report details a March 2013 incident in which the employee took a veteran receiving treatment for drug addiction to the home of a known drug dealer in Tuskegee. The patient reportedly engaged in oral sex with a prostitute and bought illegal drugs with the employee. The patient was left at the drug dealer’s house overnight, and assured by the employee that he would not be drug tested upon his return to the VA.

Local police officers in Tuskegee confirmed in the report that the location is widely known to local drug enforcement officers as a house where drug dealers and prostitutes do business.

These revelations are just the latest in a long and growing list of allegations of misconduct at the Central Alabama VA that started with a report that employees were falsifying records to coverup long wait times.

Central Alabama VA director James Talton initially told Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL2) that he had fired the offending employees.

Days later, one of the whistleblowers at the Central Alabama VA came forward to Yellowhammer, revealing that Talton was being untruthful. Several employees involved in the scandal were demoted, but not fired. The whistleblower further claimed to Yellowhammer that the VA employees who brought the scandal to light were actually the ones who got fired.

At least 900 unread patient X-RAY tests – some showing malignancies – were lost until recently, and top hospital administrators tried to cover up the problem.

A VA pulmonologist was found to have manipulated more than 1,200 patient records, and yet, went on to receive a “satisfactory performance” review.

CAVHCS even had problems paying its bills on time, which affected its ability to depend on local hospitals to help with increased demand.

The list could go on.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Rep. Roby penned a letter to newly confirmed VA Secretary Robert McDonald requesting that he craft a plan to address the allegations of mismanagement and abuse at CAVHCS. The letter also requested that Secretary McDonald personally visit the CAVHCS facility in Montgomery with Shelby and Roby in order to discuss the details of the plan.

“This isn’t over,” Rep. Roby predicted in mid-July. “Expect more to come to light moving forward.”

Unfortunately, it appears she was right.

Roby recently sat down with Yellowhammer to discuss some of the issues at the VA. The video of the interview can be viewed below.


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims
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Key Mobile and Baldwin counties public officials endorse Will Ainsworth for Lieutenant Governor

Key public officials from Mobile and Baldwin counties joined with State Rep. Will Ainsworth (R – Guntersville) on Thursday evening as they endorsed his candidacy for lieutenant governor in the July 17 Republican runoff election.

Among those announcing their public support for Ainsworth during a news conference at the USS Alabama battleship were Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran; Baldwin County Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack; State Representative David Sessions of Grand Bay, who chairs the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee; and State Rep. Jack Williams of Wilmer, who is also the senator-elect for Senate District 34.

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“I’m humbled by the confidence each of these public officials has placed in me by putting their names and reputations beside mine,” Ainsworth said. “During my time in the House, I supported the Gulf Coast 100% of the time, and I voted to keep the BP settlement funds where they rightly belonged. South Alabama will continue to have my support as lieutenant governor.”

The officials offered the following comments at the news conference, which may be viewed here.

“I look forward to Will being successful in his bid for lieutenant governor. It was a pleasure to serve with Will on the House Agriculture Committee. I know two things about Will Ainsworth – he is a good family man, and he believes in doing what is right.” – State Rep. David Sessions (R – Grand Bay)

“Will’s State House office is right next to mine, and I know he supported us all the way through with the BP funding and helped us get what we got.” State Rep. Jack Williams (R – Wilmer)

“I’m proud to stand here with my friend, Will Ainsworth. I’ve worked with him in the Legislature, and I know he is a strong supporter of law enforcement. He’s an honest man, and I know he will continue to support us in Mobile County and Baldwin County.” – Sheriff Sam Cochran

“When the Alabama Sheriffs’ Association met in January, Will walked in the room and said, ‘I’m here to not only ask for your vote but to offer my support to the sheriffs of Alabama,’ and that means a lot to the 67 sheriffs in our state. Since that time, I’ve come to know him as a committed Christian conservative, and I am excited he is in the runoff.” Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack

Paid for by Friends of Will Ainsworth, 7520 Browns Valley Road, Guntersville, AL 35976

36 mins ago

Alabama airman killed in WWII to be buried in Florida this week

An Alabama man who was killed during World War II is being buried in Florida after his remains were identified decades following his death.

The Pentagon says a funeral is scheduled for Thursday in Pensacola for Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Percy C. Mathews of Andalusia.

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Mathew was 25 and serving on a B-17 bomber when it was struck by enemy fire while attacking a German submarine base in France on May 29, 1943. Mathews went down with the aircraft.

A statement from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency says a set of unidentified remains were determined to be those of Mathews thanks to genetic testing and the work of a French researcher, Daniel Dahiot.

Mathews was a member of the 422nd Bombardment Squadron, 305th Bombardment Group, 8th U.S. Air Force.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 hours ago

Ex-NFL, Alabama player Keith McCants arrested on drug charge

A former defensive end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the University of Alabama has been arrested on drug charges in Florida.

Pinellas County Jail records show 50-year-old Keith McCants was arrested early Monday near St. Petersburg.

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He’s charged with a felony count of possession of crack cocaine and driving with a revoked or suspended license.

He bonded out of jail, but records don’t list a lawyer.

Jail records show multiple arrests since 2010. His most recent arrest was in January, for driving with a suspended license.

Court records show he faces a July 10 court date.

McCants made the All-America Team at Alabama and was selected fourth overall by the Buccaneers in the 1990 NFL Draft.

His career ended in 1995. He also played for the Oilers and Cardinals.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 hours ago

Former news production building in Birmingham sells for $1.5 million

The former Birmingham News production building has been sold for $1.5 million.

Al.com reports the buyer is looking to transform the 97,000-square-foot building into a self-storage facility.

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The Birmingham Design Review Committee approved the concept in February.

“As a Birmingham native we are excited to be a part of the continued revitalization of downtown Birmingham.

We look forward to providing first class service in this self-storage project for the business community and the growing residential population in the city center,” Brent Fields, one of the owners of News Properties LCC, said in a statement.

The former news production building was built in 1982 on 1.60 acres.

Alabama Media Group moved the printing of the Birmingham News to Atlanta last year.

Eddie Greenhalgh, first vice president of investments, for Marcus & Millichap’s Birmingham office, says the conversion of the building to self-storage represents a wider revitalization of Birmingham’s downtown area.

Birchfield Penuel & Associates is the architect.

Christy Roddy and William Ledbetter of Cushman & Wakefield-EGS Commercial Real Estate represented the seller, Advance Local Media, the parent company of Alabama Media Group. Greenhalgh also represented the seller.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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Bill ‘Bubba’ Bussey receives heart stent, shares special moment with nurse

Bill “Bubba” Bussey, beloved radio co-host of the Birmingham-based and wildly popular “Rick and Bubba Show,” said his Friday morning procedure went well and was all smiles in an Instagram photo he shared after a successful heart stent placement.

“We are out! All good, now just a lot of recover time and being very very still. Your prayers have been heard and felt!!!” he wrote on Instagram.

Bussey is in his early fifties and was on his feet Friday, writing on Instagram that “Bubba seems to be feeling better,” sharing a playful moment with an “unnamed nurse” he helped with her “volley.”

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Early this morning, Bussey said in an Instagram post with the St. Vincent’s East location stamp that he shared a special moment with a retiring nurse:

“So many people to thank for the great care I got this weekend… but this lady ‘Miss Sandra’ was retiring after 30 plus years of nursing. I was her last patient, of her last shift!! She checked my pulse on the way out the door! Happy retirement Sandra! Thanks for letting me be a part of this special moment.”

From all of us at Yellowhammer News, get well soon, Bubba!