A group of Maine lawmakers voted on Friday to investigate the finances of the Maine Veterans’ Homes organization.
Peter Schleck, director of the nonpartisan Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability, has been appointed to investigate allegations of financial mismanagement at the nonprofit, the Portland Press Herald reported.
The investigation comes after a whistleblower within the Maine Veterans’ Homes questioned the organization’s financial decisions, according to the Portland newspaper, but the extent of those concerns were not made public Friday.
Maine Veterans’ Homes came under scrutiny after it moved to close two veterans’ homes in Caribou and Machias in the spring of 2022. The organization cited decreases in the number of residents, difficulty hiring workers and significant operational losses when it announced the closures.
A $3.5 million bill sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, kept the homes open by eliminating the Caribou and Machias homes’ back debt and requiring the organization to seek legislative approval before it could close one of its homes.
The bill also created a work group that was required to report findings on how to keep the homes viable for the long term this February.
An attorney for the Maine Veterans’ Homes board of trustees said that an internal investigation into financial practices would be conducted, according to the Portland Press Herald.
In addition to Machias and Caribou, Maine Veterans’ Homes runs facilities in Augusta, Bangor, Scarborough and South Paris. The Legislature established the Maine Veterans’ Homes in 1977 as a quasi-state entity, but the homes typically only get their funding from Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and charitable donations.