Whistleblower fighting McGuire VA Medical Center seeks fresh start

Whistleblower fighting McGuire VA Medical Center seeks fresh start
Lorelei Hudson says she blew the whistle on a top-level manager and suffered for it (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A whistleblower who turned to the Office of Special Counsel for protection is leaving McGuire VA Medical Center and looking for a fresh start away from the current leadership.

NBC12 investigated her allegations of waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayers' money back in 2016. The government's investigation into alleged nepotism and whistleblower retaliation is still open and active at McGuire VA Medical Center, says Lorelei Hudson, but she's moving on.

NBC12 caught up with Hudson before she left McGuire.

"I believe the person who is at the head of this facility owes me an apology," said Hudson.

The assistant Human Resources officer packed up her small office and is heading to a new job at a different VA hospital.

"I'm hoping there's going to be accountability for the actions of those leaders who retaliated against me and who have caused me harm," said Hudson.

The 25-year federal employee and veteran claims she was pressured to hire a top-level manager's husband for a job he wasn't qualified for. When she refused and reported it, retaliation was immediate and severe.

"The police was called on me. I was lied on. They told people that I barricaded myself in the office to make it seem as though I was crazy," said Hudson.

Hudson says she was stripped of her HR duties and banished to a remote office where McGuire continued to pay her nearly $100,000 a year, for two years, for work like typing up the location of meal trays.

"I was harassed, not only on campus but off campus, and I complained about that to leadership, and I received no help," said Hudson.

NBC12 reached out to Medical Director John Brandecker and was given the usual response: "We are unable to discuss employees."

Documents show McGuire conducted an internal investigation and proposed a one-day suspension for the top-level manager who wanted Hudson to hire her husband. Even after that action was proposed, the whistleblower was not given any meaningful work.

"It's a public concern, because that's taxpayer money. I remained on a detail to no duties, making well over $90,000," said Hudson.

Hudson says leaving is bittersweet, but she believes fighting for what she believes in is encouraging others.

"Actually, just a few minutes ago, I just finished praying with three ladies who are going through some hard times here," said Hudson.

The bitter part is that Lorelei Hudson hasn't worked in her field in two years. She says she missed out on training and many changes. She's working to overcome that setback.

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