Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Can't believe he was doing this.

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — The former Calhoun County Veteran’s Affairs director who resigned on Monday had sent emails to military veterans that asked for “pain meds,” Christmas presents and other gifts, as well as a cut of their benefits, in return for his help, according to documents obtained today by 24 Hour News 8.

In one of the emails, dated Oct. 20, 2011, Scott Losey wrote about the hard work he’d done at his own home for one veteran.

“We will discuss a gentleman’s agreement to compensate for my personal time. I have worked cases for veterans who reside outside Calhoun County over the past couple of years with the same kind of agreement. I will not gouge you like your Social Security lawyer. Perhaps 7 to 10 percent is typically the agreement. I have had veterans screw me over big time as well. Does this sound cool?”

“Also, where is my Christmas present,” Losey wrote in all capital letters in one email in December 2009. “Just so you know, my wife and I like to go out every once in a while for dinner…”

>>Related: Emails from Scott Losey’s personnel file, provided by Calhoun County Corporate Counsel Richard Lindsey

In another, in December 2009: “Have you sent my Christmas present yet? given the many hours dedicated to your claims???”

In September 2009, he wrote this email: “I DO PRETTY FREAKING GOOD WORK!!! My fee for doing out-of-county work is normally a Finley’s supper card.”Scott Losey email 010615

In emails, which were obtained by 24 Hour News 8 through the Freedom of Information Act, Losey often referred to gentleman’s agreements.

In March 2011, he wrote an email to a veteran: “I suppose now is as good as any to request one month truck payment as a confidential gentleman’s agreement for a job well done!!!!”

In another email, he appeared to demand a fee for getting a veteran $100,000 from the VA, saying he had saved the veteran a 20-percent attorney’s fee.

“Not only did I do a much better job developing his case, but I would never have requested 20 percent,” he wrote. “We agreed to 5 percent, a WAY MORE THAN FAIR rate given the amount of work dedicated. When I work claims on behalf of veterans who reside in Calhoun County, I MUST work these cases on my own time…All I ask in return is a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to recognize and compensate for my work at home. In the end, there are no contracts, just a hand shake acknowledgement,” he wrote.

In one December 2012 email to Losey, apparently from a Vietnam veteran living in Muskegon county, the veteran appeared to be complaining about the fee Losey wanted to charge him. Losey apparently had done work for him from his home.

>>Related: More emails from Scott Losey’s personnel file (WARNING: Contains explicit language)

“You can’t submit for some sort of overtime allowance?” the veteran wrote. “Don’t you agree, that would certainly be a more acceptable way of getting officially reimbursed for your talent & personal time, instead of anticipating your reimbursement coming from the veteran who filed the claim?”

In several emails, he also talked about his form of payment: “IF THIS GOES THROUGH, PERHAPS A FEW DEAD PRESIDENTS WILL SUFFICE????”

In another December 2012 email, he complained about a veteran from North Carolina that he’d helped get $100,000 in benefits. The veteran, he wrote, had refused to pay him. “I guess in the minds of many, integrity doesn’t have the same meaning as it does to veterans like us…”

Losey’s requests, according to one email, were not always for gift cards or money. In a message sent in May 2013, he wrote, “Perhaps I will hit you up for a few of your meds to help me get through the day.”

The emails continue into last year, with one as late as December.

“When the decision comes back as a winner and you receive that big fat retroactive check, I need $1,600 to repair my transmission and YOU are going to help me out. DEAL?” he wrote in an email dated May 22, 2014.

Losey, director of the office for 15 years with an annual salary of $64,351, resigned Monday after a veteran’s widow claimed he had shaken her down for $200 for the work he’d done on her husband’s claim.

On Tuesday, Losey denied any wrongdoing, saying the emails were either taken out of context or were jokes. He denied taking drugs, money or cuts from veterans’ benefits. He acknowledged accepting gift cards, but said he did not ask for them, despite what the emails say.

“I fully own the fact that if somebody wants to give me a gift card to Finley’s, or to Outback in exchange for work that I’ve done during off hours, I acknowledge that,” he said. “None of these cases have I said, ‘You are going to do give me this if I give you that.”

In an interview with 24 Hour News 8 on Monday, he claimed that it was the woman, Phyllis Katz, who insisted he take a $200 check. While he put the check in his wallet, he said he planned to mail it back to her.

Calhoun County Administrator Kelli Scott told 24 Hour News 8 the case has been turned over to the federal government for investigation. Calhoun County Corporate Counsel Richard Lindsey said the county has also opened up an investigation on the case.

“The emails that you got copies of were disappointing, to say the least,” Scott said. “They were disheartening and honestly disturbing.”

“Accepting gifts on behalf of service performed in his official duty as a county employee absolutely would not be acceptable,” she continued.

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