The former director of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services has filed suit against the state, contending he was forced to resign and then defamed following an investigation of the state veterans’ home last year.
Patrick Chorpenning, a Vietnam veteran who had held the post since 1999, resigned in March 2007 after concerns surfaced over neglect and mismanagement at the Arizona State Veteran Home. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office investigated and earlier this year declined to file any criminal charges.
The Phoenix facility, which cares for some of the state’s oldest and most venerable war veterans, was fined thousands in 2007 by state and federal officials after an unannounced inspection found patients left in soiled undergarments and smoking cigarettes while unsupervised, among other things.
Two employees were disciplined and Chorpenning resigned. State officials said he’d encouraged the hiring of his relatives and friends, which may have violated hiring practices and led to the hiring of unqualified employees.
The lawsuit, filed last week by Chorpenning acting as his own attorney, says he was forced to resign after “false and defamatory statements” made by various state officials investigating the veterans’ home caused the governor’s office to “sharply curtail” his duties, making it impossible for him to continue as director of the agency as well as a policy advisor to the governor.