By Christy Strawser, digital director
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) It's not exactly Siberia, but a newly revealed federal investigation reveals an adviser for former President George W. Bush allegedly created a field office in Detroit specifically to exile gay staffers and others he found objectionable.
The Inspector General's final report, which was posted on a government website, revealed the allegation, along with others, made against Bush's adviser, Scott J. Bloch. The investigation started in 2006 after employee complaints.
The final report for the Office of Personnel Management, which advocates for whistleblowers, includes allegations Bloch created a Midwest Field Office in Detroit and basically reassigned 12 employees there in retaliation for things he didn't like, including homosexuality.
"Mr. Bloch and his immediate staff offered an array of ostensible explanations in press releases, Congressional testimony, and interviews with the investigative team, seeking to link the reassignments to the bona fide operational needs of the agency. However, our investigation developed evidence ... which tended to undermine the proffered explanations," the report says.
The complaints were bolstered by retired Lt. General Richard Trefry, who told investigators in detail about Bloch's effort to "ship out" homosexual workers to Detroit.
"He observed that Mr. Bloch appeared to be 'very determined' to carry out
the intentions he articulated," the report says.
It adds that Trefry said he urged Bloch not to do it, but he responded he had "license" to do what he wanted. Trefry told investigators he didn't know from whom he felt licensed.
Bloch was sentenced six months ago to two months' probation for destroying government property. He hired a company to wipe computer files clean and delete all evidence of his emails; the suspicion was that he destroyed evidence against him.
Bloch responded to the new report in a written statement that said the allegations were "nothing new" and "a rehash of old unsubstantiated stories and muddled statements," according to the Legal Times blog
"The 'new' report is biased and without authority," Bloch said.
The report carries no penalties.
Bloch is now an attorney in private practice in Washington, D.C. His website says he is a "tough advocate who has taken on big government and won, taken on big corporations and won, and helped his clients to realize their goals of obtaining justice and making a difference."
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