Veterans Affairs says official ran bakery on clock
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Published: Tuesday, July 20, 2010
A Department of Veterans Affairs official used government time and resources to run an Internet-based bakery called Shugga Mommas, selling "decadent" cakes and pies.
A report issued last week by the VA's Inspector General concluded the human resources administrator in the agency's central office in Washington used "official time and resources to conduct personal business during VA duty hours."
The report blacked out names, but its descriptions match those on a website for the suburban Washington-based Shugga Mommas. A VA administrator, Rasheeda J. Holdip, incorporated the firm in 2002, Maryland records show.
VA officials did not return phone calls or e-mails seeking comment.
The website and report describe Shugga Mommas as "a family business based in the Washington, D.C., area that has been baking delicious desserts together for generations. From our kitchen to yours, we create the best homemade cakes and pies on the Internet."
Holdip told investigators her VA boss, Rayshad Holmes, knew about her business and ordered goods from her, the report states.
Holmes, according to the report, denied buying baked goods from Holdip. He said he thought the business was a hobby.
Investigators found that Holdip repeatedly used her VA-issued BlackBerry to confirm orders and used her personal and VA e-mail accounts to conduct business during regular duty hours, including times when she was supposed to be teleworking from home.
"Our decadent desserts are made with the finest all-natural ingredients, and we never forget to include a healthy dose of love in all our creations. You can taste our passion for great cakes in every bite," Shugga Mommas' website boasts.
Neither Holmes nor Holdip responded to requests for comment.
The report cited Holmes for violating personnel rules by hiring Holdip. Holmes did not disclose to colleagues his prior relationship with Holdip and alerted her to the job opening in his division, the report said. It cites a statement from another VA administrator who concluded that Holmes should have recused himself from her hiring.
The bakery's incorporation records listed a home Holdip and her husband own as its corporate address. She incorporated another real estate management firm at the address.
Maryland revoked the charters of both firms for failure to file annual reports, but the businesses continued to operate.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Jailed Hribal ‘fine,’ but family ‘terrible’ as answers in stabbing sought
- Starkey: Fleury’s future at stake
- Mon Valley communities plan cleanup day activities
- U.S. Steel presents tuition scholarship money for Catholic education
- Five years later, Crosby wants another Cup win
- Dravosburg residents try to save PNC Bank from closing
- Carnegie Library of Homestead spotlighted in CNN iReport
- Hempfield Area superintendent, business manager quit
- Pirates conclude wild suspended game with win, drop 2nd of series
- Penguins’ Malkin expects to play in Game 1
- Forward officials announce furniture sale