Phoenix VA whistleblower: Overturning of director’s firing shows no one accountable

May 10, 2017, 9:54 AM
(AP Photo/Veterans Affairs Department)...
(AP Photo/Veterans Affairs Department)
(AP Photo/Veterans Affairs Department)
LISTEN: Brandon Coleman, Former United States Marine and VA whistleblower

PHOENIX — A whistleblower said Wednesday that a court decision to overturn the firing of Sharon Helman, the former director of the Phoenix VA, shows few people are held accountable at the facility.

“It just shows the problems, nationally,” Brandon Coleman told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

“We have a president trying to make changes at the VA, we have a secretary that has a backbone that wants to make changes at the VA and yet we can’t hold anyone accountable.”

Helman’s firing was overturned by a federal court on Tuesday.

She was fired in November 2014 following a scandal over long wait times for veterans seeking medical care and secret lists covering up the delays. Coleman was not the person who blew the whistle on her.

She sued the VA to win back her job. She argued that a key portion of a law passed in response to the wait-time scandal is unconstitutional and denied her an important step to appeal her firing.

Coleman said he was not surprised Helman sued over her dismissal.

“Helman is doing what any civil service employee would do, in exercising their rights to try to save their job,” he said. “It’s amazing that, over a year later and a felony conviction, that she is still able to do this.”

Helman pleaded guilty to a felony last year for filing a false financial disclosure with the federal government. She was sentenced to probation after she admitted to accepting gifts worth nearly $20,000 from lobbyists.

Coleman said he laughed when he heard the court’s decision to overturn Helman’s firing.

“Every once in a while on this roller coaster ride, you just have to laugh.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News


Charles Barkley happy for Brittney Griner’s Russia release, feels for still-imprisoned Paul Whelan

Charles Barkley is happy fellow Valley basketball icon Brittney Griner was released from Russia in a prisoner swap, but feels for Paul Whelan.
23 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/@MesaPD)...

Mesa police investigating homicide after man found killed in his boot repair shop

Mesa police are investigating the death of a man after he was found killed inside his boot repair business on Tuesday.
23 hours ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Taylor Kinnerup

Arizona’s News Roundup: Griner released, TSMC ups state investment and more

Listen to a recap of the biggest Arizona news stories this week, including Brittney Griner's release and President Biden's visit to the state.
23 hours ago
(Phoenix Police Department Photo)...

Silver Alert issued for 44-year-old woman with cognitive issues last seen in Phoenix

A Silver Alert was issued Thursday for a 44-year-old woman with a cognitive delay who was last seen in Phoenix on Sunday.
23 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Peoria Fire-Medical Department)...

West Valley elementary school children evaluated after becoming ill following field trip

Twenty elementary school students in Sun City grew ill on Thursday after returning from a field trip, authorities said.
23 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...

1 dead after argument leads to gunfire in downtown Phoenix

A man is dead after an argument escalated into gunfire in downtown Phoenix on Wednesday evening, authorities said.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Phoenix VA whistleblower: Overturning of director’s firing shows no one accountable