Former GSA Administrator Was in Va., Ore. During Vegas Conference
(WASHINGTON) -- Online records, hotel receipts and flight itineraries for former U.S. General Services Administration administrator Martha Johnson show that she was in Williamsburg, Va., and Portland, Ore., during the lavish Las Vegas conference that eventually led to her departure, not meeting with Solyndra company officials in California, as government testimony from a senior official at GSA claims.
Jeff Neely, a regional administrator now on administrative leave, testified in March 2011 that Johnson missed the 2010 Western Regions Conference to attend “a meeting with Salindra [sic],” according to ABC News’ Tuesday reporting on the transcripts.
But travel records show that Johnson flew coach on United Airlines from Washington National Airport, connecting through Chicago on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010. Johnson left Portland on Oct. 29, flying non-stop to Washington-Dulles International Airport. Hotel records also show that she stayed at a Courtyard Marriott.
Johnson was in Portland to visit a GSA-sponsored construction project that taught women new job skills with stimulus money. She was in Williamsburg for a leadership conference and panel discussion during the first two days of the Vegas conference.
GSA and Obama administration officials disputed Neely’s testimony on Tuesday, but provided no records showing Johnson’s whereabouts until Wednesday morning.
The agency spent about $823,000 on the 2010 convention for 300 employees, including thousands of dollars spent on items such as a commemorative coin set, a mind reader, a comedian and a clown.
Johnson resigned abruptly after the GSA inspector general presented findings of abuse and waste of taxpayer dollars from the conference. Seven other officials have resigned, been fired or suspended in the wake of the scandal.
Multiple congressional hearings are scheduled to investigate the matter when Congress returns to session next week.
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