The General Services Administration official responsible for a 2010 conference that cost more than $800,000 also enjoyed expensive hotel suites on the taxpayer dime, according to pictures posted on the manager’s public Google Plus account.
On GSA official Jeff Neely’s Google Plus account, ABC News found pictures of Neely and his wife enjoying wine in a luxurious Las Vegas hotel suite while on one of the eight pre-conference scouting trips for the 2010 GSA conference that would ultimately cost taxpayers more than $800,000.
ABC News reports:
The eight pre-conference trips alone cost the government $130,000, according to the GSA Inspector General’s investigation of the 2010 conference. Inspector General Brian Miller has referred his case to the Justice Department for possible criminal investigation.
The pictures suggest Neely and his wife rather enjoyed their stay at the luxurious M hotel, where the conference was ultimately held. The controversy surrounding the wasteful spending at the conference has cost GSA administration Martha Johnson her job, with other GSA officials such as Neely put on administrative leave. The 31 pictures on Deborah Neely’s Google+ page are contained in the album "M Hotel@Vegas Nov2009."
The pictures show the Neelys enjoying their stay at the hotel, with Neely primping in the bathroom mirror, enjoying the delicious room service wares, and taking in a soak in the "spa tub." The Inspector General’s report states that "GSA spending on conference planning was excessive, wasteful, and in some cases impermissible. To select a venue and plan the conference, GSA employees conducted two ‘scouting trips,’ five off-site planning meetings, and a "dry run." Six of these planning events took place at the M Resort (the conference venue) itself. Travel expenses for conference planning totaled $100,405.37, and catering costs totaled over $30,000. GSA spent money on refreshment breaks during the planning meetings, which it had no authority to do, and the cost of catered meals at those meetings exceeded per diem limits."