A program analyst at the Department of Housing and Urban Development spent up to three hours a day for five years working on private business deals — including once arranging to supply lap dancers for a private party — while he was supposed to be doing government work.
Another HUD employee — an auditor — was investigated for running a trucking business from her government office, according to investigative records obtained by The Washington Times.
In both cases, the investigators referred their findings to prosecutors, who declined to press criminal charges, sending the cases back to HUD officials, who let both employees remain on the job.
Government employees have come under scrutiny as reports of time and attendance fraud have mount.
In cases at the Environmental Protection Agency, one employee ditched work under the guise of being a CIA spy and another spent up to six hours a day looking at pornography on government time.
“I can probably count all the people on two hands I’ve seen fired,” Rep. John L. Mica, Florida Republican, said at a hearing last week into the EPA misconduct. “But something needs to be changed when people are breaking the law, when you have this GS-14 sitting there abusing his position, his salary, ripping off the taxpayers.”
The HUD employees’ names were redacted in investigative memos released to The Times through an open-records request. But The Times has identified the program analyst as J’Vaughn Hawkins. He works in the grants management section of HUD’s public and Indian housing office.
When investigators scoured his email account in 2012, they found hundreds of messages about his real estate work, but they also came across messages about landscaping and chauffeuring and one email in which he “offered to provide women to serve drinks and to provide lap dances during a boxing match,” records show.
Mr. Hawkins told investigators he did supply one woman but didn’t get paid what he was owed.
Investigators said he used his HUD email to refer tenants to landlords and received a cut of the first month’s rent payment in return. Use of the government email was troubling because it could lead to perceptions that he was representing HUD, according to a memo from the inspector general’s office.
In a statement to investigators, Mr. Hawkins apologized for his actions. “I have attempted to help people with grants and with basketball and with real estate.
“I am very sorry that I did not use good judgement and I am willing to pay back for the time that I was negligent any amount that would compensate for my actions,” he wrote.
Mr. Hawkins received a 30-day suspension.
The Times identified the name of the auditor, Deona Madden, who was found to have been running a trucking business from her post in HUD’s office of public and Indian housing.