Detroit VA accused of wasting $300K on TVs sitting in storage

- The Detroit VA Medical Center is accused of wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars that could've been used to help local veterans.

The money was used to buy new TVs for the facility, but nearly three years later, all the sets are collecting dust in storage.

In 2013, the VA medical center in Detroit made the purchase of 300 TVs and accessories for more than $300,000. Here is a picture of the TVs and accessories sitting in a storage room at the Detroit Medical Center.

"What purpose are the TVs serving, it's not serving any purpose, just sitting in the back room," said Tahisha Smith, a veteran's wife.

In January of 2016, the Office of Inspector General started investigating, and they looked further into it. It turns out, most of the TVs are not being used due to problems with them fitting in the rooms and connecting properly in the building.  As of now, the TVs are useless.

"You got a lot of homeless veterans that need help," said veteran Robert Height. "To buy TVs and not use them, come on, we could have done something better with the money.

"There is a lot more that can be done. What's more important -homeless veterans or TVs?"

"My husband is a vet too, and it's not fair that you take the taxpayer's money to do this," said a Detroit VA medical center employee.

Some vets shared how they think the money could have been better spent.

"For one thing, they can start off with some wheelchairs," said veteran Earnest Smith. "I see a lot of veterans don't have their wheelchairs. A lot of veterans have to be waited on, and water fountains that  the veterans can use as they wait to see their doctor."

"Basically the care here is more like a clinic than a hospital, I can get more help going to the DMC." said veteran Larry Smith.

The Office of Inspector General also found that the VA in Detroit did not do its homework to make sure the TVs would work for the upgrade project.

"There has to be some better checks and balances when you're talking about so much money," Larry Smith said. "So much money is just a waste. I can't understand that."

"You got to do your homework," Tahisha Smith said. "That's going (for) anything. You have to measure and make sure is in the right perspective before you do anything. That's just with anything you do in life."

The inspector general laid out some recommendations for the which includes the VA developing a plan to prevent this from happening again, to see if any violations occurred in making the purchase, and to make use of the TVs that are sitting storage.

The spokesperson at the VA medical center would not speak on camera, but says they will follow the recommendations.
 


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