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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dr. Chacko, the Media, and Judicial Purity

UPDATE: Please also check out my new book, The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers, for only $3.99, in which I dedicate Chapter 4 entirely to the exploits of Dr. Anna Chacko. 

Following my last Dr. Anna Chacko piece, I received this comment from George Love.

Dr. Chacko's termination is a complicated matter, in that only the deciding officials know the real motive. The articulated reaon is merely a pretext. The working assumption is what we refer to as a mixed motive, that is reprisal /retaliation for (1)whistle blowing and (2) prior EEO activity. Silence is not deafening, it is appropriate for all parties concerned while the issues are investigated and subjected to discovery proceedings in the appropriate legal forum. It is interesting that the basis for much of your writing on Dr. Chacko is based on information that could only be given to you outside the scope of anyone's legal authority to share that information and thus be a violation of the privacy act, which would indicate that your source has no qualms about violating federal statues for thier own personal motives. Of course that only applies to those statements that are truthful. I do not believe that a lie is a violation of the privacy act. It is fitting and just that we have a legal system so that people are not tried in the press which often times makes conclusions on half truths, innuendos, false assumption and erroneous conclusions which are supplied by individuals with their own bias and motives as a means of character assasination. I believe that you have arrived at faulty conclusions relative to Dr. Chacko based on ojectionable hearsay. I look forward to the day that Dr. Chacko will prevail in the apprpriate legal forum and I will keep you advised. Sincerely, George H. Love, Jr

I've spoken privately with Mr. Love and it should be noted that he's an attorney. (Besides that, our conversations shall remain private.) That's important because Mr. Love views the world through the prism of an attorney. He sees the court room and the legal process as the purist path to truth. That's where evidence must be properly processed, delivered, and analyzed. Mr. Love doesn't want the Dr. Chacko affair to turn into the O.J. affair and many other affairs in which trials were tried in the press.

There's some truth to his concerns. Still, a member of the press sees the media as the last protector against corruption. So, be it a court proceeding or any other endeavor, the press is the last place someone can turn to if all other places are corrupt.

George Love would have us believe that when a trial is going on press coverage only pollutes the air in the trial and since taints it. He would rather the trial move forward and media coverage happen afterwards.

Let's take a look at a few stories I'm working on now to test that theory. Mark Clements was falsely convicted of arson and four counts of murder after a confession was received through torture. This torture was part of a torture ring headed by Jon Burge. In fact, there was scant media attention of Clements case or most of the cases in Burge's ring. Clements continued to appeal his conviction and finally after 28 years it was overturned. Now, if we are to believe Mr. Love, we should have waited forever to say anything about this case. After all, this case was being adjudicated throughout. We wouldn't want to taint the court proceeding. In fact, what was tainted was the court proceeding itself. What needed to be exposed was the proceeding. It took nearly thirty years and Clements spent all that time in jail.

Then, there's the case of Tony Demasi. On February 5th, a judge, Judge William T. O'Brien, raised Demasi's bail to $1 million on a charge of criminal destruction of property, barely a felony. While in prison, here's what John Kass said about the chain of events.

Demasi's brain is like a dangerous egg, and if the FBI ever cracks what's in there, some guys who know guys figure they'll get fried. That's because Demasi knows whose itch he scratched for the city liquor licenses and building and occupancy permits, which determine how crowded a club can be. And he knows what he says he paid to promote legislation in Springfield permitting VIP bottle service, which allows club owners to milk the suckers. Since he was locked up Feb. 5, news began circulating among his old crowd. Some are worried. And I don't want Demasi getting accidentally hit by a bolt of lightning or choking himself to death with plastic bags in the jail shower. That might ruin Chicago's reputation.

Kass told me himself that in part he wrote this article because he worried that Demasi's life was in danger. If you view the world from the eyes of George Love, Kass should have left well enough alone and hope.

Then, there's the story of Dr. Susan Diamond. Dr. Diamond was involved in a divorce in which a corrupt psychiatrist used the system to milk millions from her and her husband. Dr. Diamond told me that she couldn't get anyone to tell her story because most media didn't want to do a story involving a divorce because they see both sides as crazy. Not coincidentally, divorce court is among the most corrupt parts of our judicial process.

In all these cases, it was the judicial process itself that was suspect. Only media attention could have solved the problem. In the case of Dr. Chacko, there hasn't yet been a court proceeding and that's what George Love is objecting to. He would like for that process to continue uninhibited without the stain of partial facts coming from the likes of me to taint it.

For me, the issues that are revealed in the Dr. Chacko affair are much greater than any court proceedings. A court proceeding would only answer the question of fault in her time at the Pittsburgh VA. It would not answer any other questions. For instance, Dr. Chacko worked in Boston and Butte, Montana all since 2006 when she arrived at the Pittsburgh VA. That would have been three cities in three years for a woman in her 60's. That's a serious red flag ignored and it's vital the public understand why.

Furthermore, I've shown a clear pattern of behavior by Dr. Chacko that goes back more than a decade. Yet, she continues to find work. How this continues to happen won't be answered by any trial. Mr. Love is weary of me, my motives, and my sources.

It is interesting that the basis for much of your writing on Dr. Chacko is based on information that could only be given to you outside the scope of anyone's legal authority to share that information and thus be a violation of the privacy act, which would indicate that your source has no qualms about violating federal statues for thier own personal motives. Of course that only applies to those statements that are truthful. I do not believe that a lie is a violation of the privacy act.

Mr. Love is awfully harsh and judgmental about me and my sources considering he doesn't know my motives, my sources, and certainly not the motives of my sources. Here's what I know. I found this story by accident. I wrote a piece about Ken Hodges. An individual from Butte, Montana reached out to me because they told me they saw similarities in their story and the one about Hodges. During the course of my contact with them, they turned me to an individual at the Pittsburgh VA. That became my first source on the Dr. Chacko story. I wrote a piece and from their my email and phone lit up and people from all over the country began telling me stories about Dr. Chacko. Each story was more shocking, jaw dropping and amazing than the last. The process was totally organic and I knew from the first moment that I had something unlike any other story. I knew that if this story was fully exposed it wouldn't only be compelling but would expose flaws in our society, our medical system, and our legal system. These stories have been featured here since and if you've read more than one, it paints a general picture of Dr. Chacko. That comes from conversations with dozens of people that don't know each other but describe Chacko in the exact same way. If this is a "half truth" so be it. I stand by what I've reported and I believe what I've uncovered would never find its way into a court room. Despite that, I believe that exposing it is vital and the public has a right to know, even if that means tainting the judicial process.


xformed said...

Good work...and a good explanation of how the information flowed.

Having been involved in a few investigations, it's amazing how, before the fact, the danger signals were there. Once the event occurred, then there was the "well, I saw that, but didn't think it was worth bringing to anyone's attention" remarks.

The daily observations are not a matter of privacy, any more than you driving away from your home...when you went to commit a crime. Public record, in the public square.

Short of the VA needing military grade secrecy, which I cannot believe, being a "consumer" of the product, there is no requirement for anyone to not talk about what they observed, but, it is the duty of those who see ethical violations and conflicts of interest, in addition to any direct law breaking, to report it.

Lawyers have their view, but reality, not the crafting of their arguments, are the truth.

Besides, we try all sorts of people in the press daily. If he is unaware of this fact, I suggest he get out more.

Anonymous said...

Once again, people who have never dealt with Dr. Chacko want to paint her to be the vicitm. This is not the case. If anything the firing was a preventative measure. For example, she wanted the maker of the extremity MRI machine to provide a newer model at no charge is clearly against VA purchasing rules. Further, if you get an order from the VA you can bet there will be a government inspector assessing the delivered goods..if they don't match 100% then the vendor does not get paid! The extremity MRI decision and purchase was made prior to her joining the VA and all she did was try to exert her own brand of intimidation and extortion on everyone. The really funny thing is the extremity MRI vendor was bought by GE, which means she may have had he way if would have played nicely with others for just a little while.

Dont let anyone fool or mislead you...Chacko is every bit the psychopath she has been described as and should never hold a leadership position again.

Oh, one last item about the "overdosing" of radiation to patients which has been alleged by Dr. Chacko. There is no regulation on the amount of radiation that a patient can receive. Thats right! There is not a single regulation out that that says one can only receive a certain radiopharmaceutical or so many x-rays, etc. What Chacko was excited about was the fact that the VA was not using a nuclear medicine imaging agent/product made by Amersham...which is owned by GE Healthcare. Even for our nuclear medicine cameras she changed her tune to one that only GE can fulfill.

Anonymous said...

If anyone sees waste fraud or abuse in a governmental organizations they should report. Unfortunately, we all know the only person who gets shot is the whisteblower. What is interesting about the Chacko story is that she was so aberrant, even the people at the VA were antagonized by her. Having worked in the system- I can tell you her MO fits the standard for most managers. A case in point, the head of medical imaging for VISN 12, which includes Chicago, tried to hide a gross medical error he made, he was reported to the IG and essentially the only person punished was the doc who reported the crime. The director of the VISN, Murawsky approved and engaged with the head of imaging to violate the law, as he does with other complaints made to the IG. They really don't care one iota about the patients, they literally believe that they are infallible and have more power than the president, they actually believe that they are the government and are free to engage in an crime because the agency will protect them. If you get a chance- look into VISN 12- belive me the phone will light up.

Anonymous said...

Finally, somebody who is investigating a nut at the VA.
Why would Shinseki put his neck out for Chacko? He should be trying to weed out corruption- whether it is Chacko or Melham/Jain. There should be some investigating regarding the Colonel up here in Iron Mountain- talk about corrupt- he's fired multiple doctors with fabricated stuff for quite while. One doc filed an EEOC against the COS for sexual harassment and she got brought up to a review board for incompetence. Apparently, this kind of stuff is how the entire VISN 12 is run by Murawsky in Chicago- a real corrupt guy. I too hope you investigate this jerk.

Anonymous said...

Those who exalt in judicial purity can bask in the glory of the OJ acquittal. Would they welcome this innocent man as their friend and neighbor?

Anonymous said...

Before George Love utters another word he should take a flight to Montana or to Boston and under the shelter of written agreement of anonymity he should get to the people involved. Rather than use the veiled threats that he uses to silence the sources, he'd be in for a rude awakening and would likely advise his client to enjoy her retirement and be grateful her golden years are spent outside the walls of a Federal Penitentiary.

Chacko's narcissism is incurable and somewhat infectious. She is able to convince people that she is right when the preponderance of evidence proves that she is wrong. Facts don't lie and if the good people of Butte and Boston refuse to let this go even after she has been ridden out of town on a rail, don't you think there is more than a kernel (or should I say (Colonel) of truth to the facts that have been laid out in your blog. Excellent work Michael. Do not roll over for this shyster or his client.

mike volpe said...

With all due respect, why are you so insistent on keeping anonymity. I will respect anyone's anonymity and speak to anyone on or off the record, however, if you are unwilling to stand up and take responsibility for what you know, coming on here to cheerlead me is completely absurd.

If anyone has anything to add, you need to draw up some courage and say it on the record. If you're unwilling to do that, then, your words of encouragement are worthless.