Photo: Google Plus
Jeff Neely, the high-level federal administrator who organised a lavish conference in Las Vegas, and his wife Deborah, have emerged as the central characters in a growing scandal over wasteful government spending, as new details emerge about their cavalier use of taxpayer funds. Testimony from three Congressional hearings this week revealed that the $822,751 Vegas conference was part of a pattern of reckless spending that Neely fostered in the General Services Administration’s Region 9, where he served as both acting regional administrator and regional commissioner for Public Buildings Service.
In addition to the Las Vegas conference, Neely is also being investigated for a 2010 conference he organised for GSA interns in Palm Springs, 115 missing electronic gadgets that were part of a Region 9 employee rewards program (including one that was traced to Neely’s daughter), and suspicious contracting/kickbacks.
But the most remarkable details relate to the government-funded trips Neely took with his wife, including a 17-day trip to Hawaii, Guam, and Siapan this February that happened to coincide with Mrs. Neely’s birthday.
Here’s an email exchange about the trip that was read at yesterday’s Congressional hearing:
“Rough schedule per our conversation. Guess this’ll be your birthday present?” Neely said.
She replied: “Its yo birthday….We gonna pawty like iz yo birfday!”
But Deborah Neely did more than just accompany her husband on his work trips. According to testimony from the GSA inspector general and other employees, she also planned private parties in his Vegas hotel suite, directed GSA event planners to buy more food, and even posed as a GSA employee at a Long Beach trade show.
Photos from Deborah Neely’s Google Plus page indicate that her husband’s job was deeply intertwined with their family life. Here’s a snapshot of what it was like to be the Neelys.
American Samoa is also in GSA's Region 9. This picture appears to be taken at U.S. federal offices there.
She also posted a picture of the letter thanking GSA employee Mary Filippini for her 39 years of service
The Neelys have been taking GSA-funded trips together for years – here they are at a dinner with other GSA execs in Southern California in November 2009
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