A senior Veterans Affairs official misused her position by encouraging subordinates to pay for psychic readings, federal watchdogs said on Thursday.
Lucy Filipov, the assistant director of the VA’s Philadelphia regional office, pressured employees to attend a private gathering, where a colleague’s wife charged them for the readings, the department’s inspector general said in a report.
Gary Hodge, the psychic’s husband and a pension manager in the regional office, failed to report income from his wife’s psychic business on financial disclosure forms, in apparent violation of ethics rules, the report found.
The report focused on a June 6 social gathering at Filipov’s home. She used her official VA email account to organize the event and recruit employees to attend and pay for Hodge’s wife’s services.
“The employees told us of their reticence [sic] with their paid psychic participation, and said that they generally wanted to participate, but exhibited some reservation,” the IG reported.
Despite their reluctance, employees who attended the event told the IG that they paid between $15 and $35 for Hodge’s wife’s services.
VA’s Philadelphia office, one of its largest regional centers, has been plagued by scandal over the last year in the wake of reports of rampant mismanagement and attempts to cover up abuses exposed by internal whistleblowers.