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Report sharply criticizes Wray

Says former US VA official was wrong to disapprove grants, improperly spent $1.7 million

John Dudley Miller(johnmiller@nasw.org)

A 6-month federal investigation has determined that a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) official acted unreasonably last year when she arbitrarily disapproved 15 research proposals that the VA had already approved and that were within 1 month of receiving their funding.

Nelda Wray, the Veterans Health Administration's former chief research and development officer, also improperly spent nearly $1.7 million in VA-controlled funds provided primarily by pharmaceutical companies and unnecessarily charged $9737 for weekend travel to her home in Houston, expensive lodging, and expensive ground transportation, according to the report, which was released to Congress and federal health officials on March 22.

In addition, the report by the VA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) determined that Wray unfairly hired and promoted four VA employees and that she violated ethical standards by awarding four grants to a Houston colleague who was not a VA researcher. It recommended that VA discipline her...

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