Ex-safety chair billed taxpayers for private journey

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The previous head of the US security company that investigates main industrial accidents improperly charged the federal government for tens of hundreds of {dollars} in journey and office-furnishing bills, a federal watchdog stated in a report made public Thursday. 

Katherine Lemos, who served as chair of the US Chemical Security and Hazard Investigation Board from 2020 till July of final 12 months, charged the federal government almost $50,000 in airfare and different prices to journey from her residence in San Diego to the protection board’s headquarters in Washington, DC, the Environmental Safety Company’s Inspector Common concluded. Lemos additionally billed the federal government for a visit to Norfolk to attend the embarkation of an plane service, the report stated, including the bills have been in violation of federal journey rules.

As well as, Lemos, who was nominated to go the board by then President Donald Trump, spent greater than $22,000 to redecorate her workplace within the security board’s Washington headquarters — greater than 4 occasions the $5,000 restrict — in line with the inspector common. Among the many purchases: $4,340 for crimson “chili pepper” leather-based upholstery for 2 lounge chairs with matching foot rests. The report added documentation for one of many buy orders, noting that it “seems to have been designed to obscure the very fact” the furnishings was supposed for Lemos’ workplace. 

In response to a request for remark, Lemos supplied a June 15 letter from her legal professional to the inspector common that stated the company ignored exculpatory proof and “refuses to credit score Dr. Lemos’ explanations.” 

The inspector common’s report stated Lemos, by way of her counsel, disagreed with the report’s conclusions and “asserted that she relied on the recommendation of CSB workers concerning the expense reimbursements at concern.”

The board, which has investigated incidents starting from BP Plc’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling rig blowout to a chemical spill that tainted ingesting water for tons of of hundreds of West Virginians, was proposed for elimination by Trump who argued the group’s give attention to regulation had “pissed off each regulators and trade.”

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