- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 25, 2014

The central figure in a General Services Administration conference scandal that forced agencies across government to rein in spending was indicted Thursday on charges he sought reimbursement for personal travel in Las Vegas and other vacation spots then lied about it.

Jeff Neely, 59, former regional administrator for GSA’s Pacific Rim region, billed the federal government for personal travel and expenses in Las Vegas, California, Guam and Saipan, according to a federal indictment.

Mr. Neely became the public face of a 2012 scandal over a lavish taxpayer-funded convention held in Las Vegas in 2010 that saw magic acts and federal workers acting like Hollywood stars, sipping martinis on a red carpet.

According to the indictment, Mr. Neely billed GSA for lodging expenses at the M Resort Spa Casino Las Vegas in 2010 and roundtrip airfare for travel between Guam and Saipan in 2012.

He faces up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

SEE ALSO: Holder heading out, but contempt lives on

The lavish Las Vegas conference received little attention until former GSA Inspector General Brian Miller released a scathing audit on the gathering in 2012

When Mr. Miller issued the report, angry lawmakers held hearings though some deemed the out of control spending the work of a “rogue” regional office. But open records request by The Washington Times later showed that more than a dozen officials from GSA’s headquarters had also attended. Several high ranking officials even took part in skits.

Even before the report’s release, some GSA officials were concerned. One official even tried to keep it from becoming public.

The scandal forced the ouster of several high ranking GSA officials, including its former administrator, while shining a light on other wasteful conferences.

In videos obtained by The Times, Mr. Neely told colleagues at the GSA’s so-called Western Regional Conference that the gathering was “over the top,” and he added that he and other convention goers were intent on having fun.

“I think you may recall that I made some very specific promises … I think I pretty much promised to deliver an over the top unforgettable team building experience. How did we do on that one?” he asked.



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