A bipartisan legislative committee voted unanimously Friday to launch a preliminary investigation into the financial management and accounting practices at the Maine Veterans’ Homes.

The director of the state’s watchdog agency told lawmakers that a whistleblower in a position to know about the issues came forward with allegations of financial problems, although no details were made public Friday. An attorney representing the Maine Veterans’ Homes board of trustees has indicated that it would conduct its own investigation.

Peter Schleck, the director of the nonpartisan Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability, said the former employee, who was dismissed by the organization, was part of “the overall financial operations and control structure” of the homes. It was not clear if the allegations made by the whistleblower involved mismanagement or misconduct.

“She is expressing a range of concerns about their financial or accounting practices. She is willing to go on the record in that sense,” Schleck said. “This is the type of issue where we want to make sure we do our due diligence.”

The bipartisan Government Oversight Committee directed Schleck to investigate the allegations.

Maine Veterans’ Homes provides skilled nursing care and rehabilitative services to Maine military veterans and their families. Its six homes are located in Augusta, Bangor, Caribou, Machias, Scarborough and South Paris.


Committee Chairman Sen. Craig Hickman, who also leads the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, said the investigation was warranted given the financial struggles of the homes, two of which were slated to close last year until the Legislature intervened and allocated additional funding.

“We know this Legislature has done all that it can to keep the Maine Veterans’ Homes open because we know how important they are,” said  Hickman, D-Winthrop. “But we do have a concerning issue that has come before us.”

Assistant House Minority Leader Amy Arata, R-New Gloucester, said after the meeting that she was “very concerned that this vital service for our veterans is well run. I look forward to obtaining more information.”

The oversight committee was given a letter that an attorney representing the board of trustees sent to the former employee’s attorney, saying they were launching an investigation.

“I am in receipt of your client’s 11/10 documents titled ‘MVH disclosures’ and exhibits,” Richard Moon wrote. “The documentation has been shared with Board Chair Adria Horn and an investigation will occur.”

Moon did not respond Friday to questions about the allegations and the internal investigation


Last year, the board voted to close homes in Caribou and Machias. Lawmakers scrambled to come up with funding to keep the homes open. The Legislature approved a bill sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, providing $3.5 million in funding to keep the homes open. Gov. Janet Mills signed the bill into law.

The law also laid out a public process for potential closures, including legislative approval, and set in statute where each of the state’s six homes should be located, the governor’s office said.

In December, members of the state’s congressional delegation – Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an independent, and Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd District – announced another $3 million in funding for the Maine Veterans’ Homes in the federal omnibus spending bill. The money was going to pay for renovations and life-safety upgrades.

“Maine Veterans’ Homes provides compassionate, quality long-term care to the brave men and women who served our country,” they said in a joint statement. “At a time when there is already a severe shortage of nursing home beds, MVH’s facilities in rural parts of our state fill a critical need and allow Maine veterans to remain close to their loved ones. These investments will help MVH perform necessary maintenance and upgrades to ensure that these homes remain safe for residents.”

The Maine Veterans’ Homes were established by the Legislature in 1977 as a state-chartered nonprofit to provide long-term care to veterans and eligible military spouses.

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