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Saturday, August 20, 2011
Hearings Office Director Resigns Amidst WV Social Security Appeals Scandal
What began back in 2005 as unanswered complaints filed by office staff against one ALJ’s high approval ratings on disability claims, has now turned into one of the largest SSA federal investigations that has everyone from the Inspector General’s Office to several US Senators and the US Attorney’s Office jumping in with both feet.
And, its reported that previously named higher ups in the Huntington Office are just one step on a ladder that's going all the way up to Philadelphia Regional Chief Administrative Judge Jasper Bede’s office.
Recent Chain Of Stepping Down And Resignations
Within a month after ALJ David Daugherty found himself on indefinite leave of absence while being investigated for his role in this alleged “case-fixing” scandal, Chief ALJ Charley Andrus stepped down from his top position and assumed the role of an ALJ. Then a few weeks later, Daugherty retired altogether.
Now, less than a month after Daugherty resigned, Hearing Office Director Greg Hall announced this past Thursday that his resignation is effective at the end of August 2011. His explanation to office staff is that he wants to spend time with his daughter who is moving from Atlanta Georgia to Cincinnati Ohio.
According to our confidential source inside this same SSA office, ALJ Charley Andrus was recently overheard saying that he too is eligibility for retirement and is most likely going to be leaving the SSA in the near future. His reasoning is the same poor health concerns that he used for recently stepping down as the Chief Judge in the Huntington WV Office.
Our same source (who has been right 100% to date) also confided Thursday that “the federal investigation trail is leading all the way up to Chief Jasper J. Bede himself.” Bede is currently the Philadelphia Regional Chief Administrative Law Judge. Reportedly, his alleged role in the scandal is having direct knowledge of the existing illegal and ethical problems in the Huntington office and failed to act on them.
Former Master Docket Clerk Jennifer Griffith stated in an earlier interview that her superiors, all the way up to the Philadelphia Region office, knew since at least 2006 of the problems but never would address them. Griffith told this author that it was former ALJ Daugherty’s manipulating of cases that was causing the worst of the problems in the office. “Judge Daugherty was circumventing the system and assigning himself to disability cases that were being represented by Attorney Eric Conn. He even re-assigned himself to cases that had been assigned to other Judges in rotation.”
Office staff attributes public knowledge of the scandal as being the actual catalyst that launched multiple investigations by both the Inspector General’s Office and at least two probes began and or expanded by US Senators Orin Hatch and Tom Coburn.
The presence of Senator Coburn’s investigative powers is still being felt in West Virginia after his involvement and report addressing waste, fraud and mismanagement in federal employment training programs that directly cited the Workforce West Virginia grant scandal as one of the nation's most egregious examples of job training fraud in recent years.
This current investigation by the inspector general's office is being monitored by top Social Security Administration officials who told the Wall Street Journal in May 2011 that… “Investigators are examining a number of issues, including the high percentage of cases Mr. Daugherty approved for a Kentucky lawyer named Eric C. Conn.” Just this past week we learned that the federal investigation is following a money trail based on the back pay awards that were paid including attorney fees and other expenses related to the 97% overall approval rate by former ALJ David Daugherty.
It appears that these latest resignations by ALJ David Daugherty and now Hearings Office Director Greg Hall demonstrates the actual depth of the reported problems in the Huntington Office that include allegations from collusion to discrimination and mismanagement that date back to at least 2005. Daugherty and Hall are two of the named upper management employees under investigation since the scandal broke.
According to our source, just because these employees are resigning or retiring will not bar them from further investigations and or prosecution if warranted. They also say that the federal investigation has taken officials outside of the SSA Appeals Office and into the private sector. "its a money trail"...
End Of Story...
WV News 2011