Contracted employees at an Environmental Protection Agency warehouse in Landover, Md., used surplus equipment to set up a gym and personal television spaces, a report by the agency inspector general released Monday said.
The EPA inspector general found "multiple unauthorized and hidden personal spaces that included such items as televisions and exercise equipment" at the 70,000-square-foot warehouse, which the EPA leases for approximately $750,000 a year.
EPA contracted Apex Logistics, LLC to maintain the warehouse, but according to the IG report, Apex employees spent more time on the bench rack than on the forklift.
"The warehouse contained surplus gym equipment arranged to create exercise space for warehouse employees," the report states. "The weights, machines, exercise equipment, and overall exercise area appeared to be well maintained. The exercise space was in excess of 30 by 45 feet. Carpet tiles from EPA inventory were placed on the floor in the gym area. This area has electrical power through an EPA power strip and provides music through other agency inventory items. Agency steno pads were used for recording workouts."
The report found the warehouse inventory system was poorly managed, and the facility contained appliances received in 2007 still in the original packaging and new, unused furniture received in 2008.
There were also pianos on site.
"Other miscellaneous items stored in the warehouse that call in to question the effectiveness of the EPA’s personal property and warehouse management policies and processes include musical instruments, boxes of gold embossed EPA mugs, and archive files from the 1990s."
Additionally, the inspector general found records and personally identifiable information, including passports and legal files, strewn about the warehouse in unsecured boxes.
The inspector general also found "deplorable conditions," such as corroded door jambs, dust, and vermin feces.
EPA acting administrator Bob Perciasepe said the organization has taken "immediate, aggressive actions" to address the situation in a letter to the IG.
The EPA has issued a stop-work order to Apex, re-keyed all its doors, and inventoried and catalogued all equipment at the warehouse, among other actions.
"We look forward to working with OIG staff on remedying the immediate concerns at the facility and determining the need for new and enhanced policies and procedures to prevent a similar situation from occurring again at the EPA," Perciasepe wrote.