GRAND RAPIDS, MICH - The WZZM 13 Watchdog team is learning Attorney General Bill Schuette's office will be asking a Kent County judge Monday to approve criminal charges against people who failed to properly care for veterans at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.
We expect action to be taken in court as early as Monday after what has been a 14-month long investigation by Schuette's office into any criminal wrongdoing.
Our investigative team has been following this story for nearly two years. It appears the state's top prosecutor is going to force people who didn't do their jobs to answer for their actions.
Schuette told us last year this current investigation was prompted by a Michigan Office of the Auditor General report, released in February 2016, showing some embarrassing problems at that facility. The report indicated the veterans living at the facility were suffering because of a lack of staffing.
The report also indicated executives at the Home for Veterans didn't properly investigate allegations of abuse and neglect. The audit also spotlighted the issue of caregivers not checking on members when they were supposed to be watching them.
That's an issue the 13 Watchdog team has been investigating for months and we confirmed from multiple sources who spoke to us under the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on behalf of the agency that the attorney general's office investigated individual employees from the Home for Veterans for falsifying logs to show they checked on veterans when, in reality, they hadn't done the proper checks.
Last year, the auditor general's investigation confirmed via surveillance video that 43-percent of the member locations checks and 33-percent of the fall alarm checks in their samples did not occur at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, potentially putting members at risk. The report indicated the Home for Veterans provided documentation as if the checks occurred 100-percent and 96-percent of the time. It was noted in the auditor general's investigation that on 17 out of 25 check sheets sampled by investigators, supervisors certified checks that did not happen.
Since that time, the auditor general is reporting that the Home for Veterans submitted a proper corrective action plan to ensure employees actually do the work to check on people. Leaders at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans indicated no members were harmed as a result of a lack of member checking and random review of surveillance video is now being done to make sure veterans get the proper attention.
The member checks seem important considering multiple sources told us in the past the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans has had to deal with veterans leaving the facility for long periods of time. Some of the members, we are told by our sources, were put in vulnerable positions by being out for periods of time.
We will have full coverage of Schuette's decisions on Monday.
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