WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Jeffrey Neely, the General Services Administration executive who was responsible for a lavish $823,000 conference in Las Vegas, is no longer with the GSA, the agency confirmed Thursday.
GSA spokesman Adam Elkington would not say whether Neely resigned or was fired from the agency that is in charge of federal buildings and supplies.
The GSA inspector general previously referred Neely’s case to the Justice Department for a possible criminal investigation. Neely’s departure would have no effect on the Justice Department’s inquiry.
Neely had been placed on administrative leave in April as buildings commissioner for the Pacific Rim region. An inspector general’s report on waste and abuse at the 2010 Las Vegas conference sparked hearings by several congressional committees. Neely angered lawmakers by refusing to testify and asserting his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
The scandal led to the resignation of GSA Administrator Martha Johnson, the firing of two top aides and the placing of nine others on administrative leave.
“GSA is in the process of completing its review of activities associated with the Western Regions Conference and pursuing all available avenues for appropriate disciplinary action against those responsible,” the GSA spokesman said. “Jeff Neely was placed on administrative leave based on his involvement in the WRC (Western Regions Conference). As of today, he’s no longer employed with GSA.”
The Las Vegas conference featured a clown, a mind-reader and a rap video by an employee who made fun of the spending.
Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said he would introduce legislation to deal with federal executives who refuse to cooperate with Congress.
“After some delay, Mr. Neely is rightfully no longer on the taxpayers’ tab,” Mica said. “In order to deal with this type of situation in the future, I plan to introduce legislation that will allow the immediate termination of senior level executives who violate their oaths of office by refusing to cooperate with congressional investigations or to testify before Congress.”