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The Big Easy Gloryhole Incident


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#1 VINCENT A CEFALU

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 05:23 PM

I heard this guy is actually sitting on our promotion boards. That can't be true.

Courtesy of Michelle Hunter, The Times-Picayune

An employee of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was arrested on charges of disabling the fire alarm system and damaging property in his Metairie hotel room, according to a Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office arrest report.
 

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Russell Vanderwerf, 44, of Houston was booked Dec. 1 with simple criminal damage valued at $500 to $5,000 and interfering with fire prevention after staffers at the Residence Inn, 3 Galleria Blvd., began investigating a malfunctioning fire alarm system, the arrest report said. A technician who was summoned Nov. 30 tracked the alarm problem to the second-floor room registered to Vanderwerf, the arrest report said. Inside, staffers found the smoke detectors in the bedroom and kitchen-den had been removed and the horn that blares alarms was hanging out of the wall.

But the staffers and a deputy sheriff also discovered that someone had removed the bedroom door from its hinges and replaced it with a 5-by-4-foot piece of plywood affixed to the frame and the drywall with hinges and screws, the arrest report said. The door had two locks attached from the bedroom side and a circular hole padded with duct tape. The deputy noted in the arrest report that the hole appeared to be used "in some sort of sexual act."

A front-desk staffer told authorities that she'd received a complaint from a hotel guest who said the door to that room had been propped open on the night of Nov. 30 and that she noticed several "young men" entering and exiting. The guest also complained of hearing "sex noises" coming from the room, the arrest report said.

Vanderwerf was taken into custody at ATF's New Orleans area field office, located at 1 Galleria Blvd. across the street from the hotel, the report said.

When questioned about the damage, Vanderwerf admitted to disabling the smoke detectors because he said they were repeatedly triggered by steam from his shower, the report said. He also admitted to putting up the plywood door but would give not other details.

The arrest report said hotel staffers found paint and caulk in the room, suggesting he might have intended to fix the damage himself.

The Sheriff's Office would not comment on the case Tuesday. Col. John Fortunato, spokesman for the agency, said the matter remained under investigation.

Vanderwerf was released from the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center on Dec. 2 on a $4,000 bond. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

He serves as the director of industry operations for ATF's Houston field office. The industry operations division is the regulatory arm of the agency, responsible for overseeing the inspection of all federal gun and explosives licensees, said ATF spokesman Drew Wade. He confirmed that Vanderwerf was in the New Orleans area on official business.

"We are aware of the arrest by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office," said Wade, who added that he could not discuss anything that could be connected to a continuing investigation.

 


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#2 Retired and loving it

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 03:26 PM

We are officially a joke. Who can take us seriously anymore? In addition to F&F, I am embarrassed to hear barney Frank was in HQ doing some kind of gay pride thing. I hope they mopped the place when he was finished. What a person does in private is OK by me, but don't rub my nose in it! This Inspector is running loose in HQ? What the heck is going on? Would a sheet of plywood saved Cefalu? I am seriously looking through usajobs.com.



There is good news. Those stuck in the 99 NY Avenue funny farm won't have to kowtow to Barney Frank next time HQ has an all-hands G,L,and TG "celebration". The not-so-honorable Mr. Frank is not going to seek reelection.

Too bad our HQ management does not need to run for reelection! I'll bet most wouldn't get the necessary votes.

#3 craffy

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 05:51 PM

If Mr. Strotheide was in fact terminated as the DIO, there is a God. I am appauled that he was promoted to DIO from his previous post as Supervisor in the Oklahoma City field office. He did nothing but allow illegal and unethical activities to take place there for years. There were a few "priviledged" IOI's (specifically IOI Jack and IOI Matt) using government vehicles in the Oklahoma City field office for their own personal use. Mr. Strotheide did nothing. He was knowingly allowing illegal activities to take place. Mr. Strotheide failed to uphold the duties and responsiblity of his position.

A couple of IOI's (specifically the same 2 individuals listed above) in the Oklahoma City field office often used racist remarks regarding gays, blacks, women and others, and Mr. Strotheide did nothing to remedy such language in the office. He was knowingly allowing such unethical behavior to take place. Mr. Strotheide failed to uphold the duties and responsiblity of his position.

Mr. Strotheide was also known to backstab some of his subordinates by telling others about their personal issues. There was no trust among IOI's and the Supervisor or "upper management" for this reason. He had a 'favorite' person within the Oklahoma City field office (IOI Matt) he would tell everything to, whether or not it was a need to know or a right to know issue. Mr. Strotheide would "spill the beans" to this "priviledged" person.
Mr. Strotheide failed to use tact and judgement when dealing with subordinates.

Mr. Strotheide always showed preferential treatment to a select few, while outright discriminating, and in some instances, belittling females or anyone who spoke up about ethical issues within the OKC office. In many instances, permittees would complain about the conduct and tact of IOI Jack or IOI Matt, and Mr. Strotheide did nothing. Many permittees were threatened with jail or called names such as "smut breath" by said IOI's. Such blatant and unprofessional conduct would reflect negativiely on other IOI's specifically, and ATF generally, when they came in contact again with those permittees who had bad experiences with ATF in the past. It was all because of a few rude and unprofessional individuals (mentioned above) who had no tact in dealing with people. In such cases, Mr. Strotheide failed to uphold the duties and responsiblity of his position.

Mr. Strotheide was known to lie and deceive subordinates and permittees. Attempts to whistle-blow or address the issues with "upper management" fell upon deaf ears. This was a way for Mr. Strotheide to use leverage to pressure subordinates into conforming to his methods of operation - by threatening them with reprimands.

It is a glorious day in America today. Finally, one of those federal employees who lacks integrity has received their walking papers. I hope this isn't the last as their are many more just as bad waiting for their just desserts within ATF, and the government as a whole. Mr. Strotheide typically took jabs at people who left the ATF to work for private businesses who dealt with firearms or explosives. He said they left to work for "the other side". I doubt Mr. Strotheide will be working with the government again, so I can only assume, he too, will have to work for the "other side" now.

#4 Zorro

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 02:25 AM

Word from a reliable source at 99 New York that DIO Dave Strotheide, the very same guy who replaced gloryhole man-boy disgrace Russ Vanderperv, was just given termination papers for misuse of the g-ride and fraud. Can anyone from The Big Easy confirm this? What the hell is in the water in New Orleans that makes these inspectors go nuts?


A reliable source on the ground has confirmed the report is accurate.
The views and opinions expressed by the author are just that. They are not the official opinion of anyone anywhere in any capacity.

#5 Noreaster

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 05:08 PM

Word from a reliable source at 99 New York that DIO Dave Strotheide, the very same guy who replaced gloryhole man-boy disgrace Russ Vanderperv, was just given termination papers for misuse of the g-ride and fraud. Can anyone from The Big Easy confirm this? What the hell is in the water in New Orleans that makes these inspectors go nuts?

#6 integrity

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 06:12 PM

How appropriate that the Hon Senator Frank showed up to ATF HQ. Is this the same disgraced Senator that did this:

"In 1991, Barney Frank received an official reprimand for reflecting "discredit upon the House." The reprimand came as a result of his relationship with a man named Steve Gobi, a male prostitute whom Frank initially paid $80 for sex. Frank later took Gobi to live with him in his home, making him a personal aide. He paid him $20,000 in compensation (unreported to the IRS) and let him use his car. Subsequent investigation revealed that in the course of their relationship, Frank used his congressional office and stationary to fix Gobi's 33 parking fines. Frank also used his congressional letterhead to write a reference letter to Gobi's probation officer -- Gobi was under court supervision as a convicted felon with a prison record -- in which he gave false information. Most damningly, the investigation found that Gobi ran a prostitution ring from Frank's home. In his defense, Frank asserted he knew nothing of Gobi's illicit enterprise.


The Democrat -controlled House voted 408-18 to reprimand Frank after a heated debate during which some Republicans demanded expulsion. They pointed out that the claim that Frank did not know of Gobi's criminal activities was incredible to say the least.

Can you say failure to tell the truth while under oath. Isn't this why ATF is now attempting to fire agents?

And more:

After Gobi, Barney Frank become involved in another questionable -- and possibly criminally tainted -- relationship with a man called Herb Moses. Moses, whom Frank called his "spouse," was a high-level executive at Fannie Mae from 1991 until 1998. Dubbed a "mortgage guru" by the National Mortgage News, Moses boasted that he helped develop "many of Fannie Mae's affordable housing and home improvement lending programs." It was, of course, these kinds of programs that ultimately led to the collapse of the subprime mortgage market that wiped out trillions dollars from the economy and produced the economic turmoil that we now face. Even though there were those warning against the precarious nature of the enterprise, Barney Frank -- whose committee oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- kept resisting reforms and besmirching those voicing concerns.


When the Bush administration proposed that oversight of Fannie and Freddie be transferred to the Treasury Department, Frank strongly opposed the plan, claiming:


"These two entities... are not facing any kind of financial crisis... The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing."


Frank continued to claim almost until the day of the collapse that the two mortgage giants were financially sound. If we lived in a sane world, Barney Frank would be compelled to testify about his culpability in the current crisis and what role his romantic involvement with Herb Moses -- as well as the campaign contributions he received from Fannie and Freddie -- played in his shilling for these two moribund institutions.


Commenting on his shenanigans, Jeff Jacoby observed that under normal circumstances Frank's questionable relationships could have well landed him in prison.


Thanks for having a hand in destroying the economy and our nation Frank oh and forcing millions onto food stamps and unemployment lines. If you ever fail to win re-election I am sure ATF has a SAC held for you.

Good call ATF

ATF and Frank- what a pair!!!!!!


#7 Mister Ed

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 08:05 PM

ATF is a Big Joke! I'm feverishly looking on USAJobs everyday myself. It is an absolote embarassment to work here. At one time, I was proude of the fact that I worked at ATF. Not any more. The Leadership is severly lacking in so many areas, and they don't get it! As for the Gay Pride event, don't rub my nose in it either. What's next at Headquarters....Glory Holes in the bathrooms?

#8 Guest_old school_*

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 05:48 PM

We are officially a joke. Who can take us seriously anymore? In addition to F&F, I am embarrassed to hear barney Frank was in HQ doing some kind of gay pride thing. I hope they mopped the place when he was finished. What a person does in private is OK by me, but don't rub my nose in it! This Inspector is running loose in HQ? What the heck is going on? Would a sheet of plywood saved Cefalu? I am seriously looking through usajobs.com.

What is it going to take!!!!!!!!!!!! When I first heard of all this back in December 2009, I got on craigslist and found the ad this pervert had been listing. I am to repulsed to even go into detail here on what the ads say, but it is apparent it was him unless there was another person at the Residence Inn in Metairie, LA during that time frame posting about the same things and how the door will be propped open-just come on in. This is sickening and gross no matter what your sexual orientation is. A true investigation would show that these craigslist postings were from him. In fact, it may show that it was created and sent from his ATF computer. What did he do? I bet he used the old "I got a problem and will get counseling for it" that others have used for drinking to gambling. Well if that's the case, anyone who is disciplined for anything can claim it was because they were depressed or they have a problem and then seek counsel. If it can make you untouchable for an offense like this pervert has done it should make anyone untouchable for just about anything. Chief Counsels Office likes to use the excuse that they don't want to set a precedent-will in retrospect, that's what you've done. I encourage everyone to get all the information about this incident from all available sources and use it. If ATF can condone it, then we all get equal treatment. I hope Congress see's that ATF management is corrupt and needs to be cleansed.



#9 Getagrip

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 04:38 PM

What is it going to take!!!!!!!!!!!! When I first heard of all this back in December 2009, I got on craigslist and found the ad this pervert had been listing. I am to repulsed to even go into detail here on what the ads say, but it is apparent it was him unless there was another person at the Residence Inn in Metairie, LA during that time frame posting about the same things and how the door will be propped open-just come on in. This is sickening and gross no matter what your sexual orientation is. A true investigation would show that these craigslist postings were from him. In fact, it may show that it was created and sent from his ATF computer. What did he do? I bet he used the old "I got a problem and will get counseling for it" that others have used for drinking to gambling. Well if that's the case, anyone who is disciplined for anything can claim it was because they were depressed or they have a problem and then seek counsel. If it can make you untouchable for an offense like this pervert has done it should make anyone untouchable for just about anything. Chief Counsels Office likes to use the excuse that they don't want to set a precedent-will in retrospect, that's what you've done. I encourage everyone to get all the information about this incident from all available sources and use it. If ATF can condone it, then we all get equal treatment. I hope Congress see's that ATF management is corrupt and needs to be cleansed.

#10 SA FOG

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 12:20 PM

He reported as the Deputy Chief of Field Management Staff on Monday, June 20th.

#11 The Shadow

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 09:14 AM

CLEAN UP ATF

Let me start by stating that what anyone does in private, is nobody's business but their own....

That being said:

December. 2009. Russell Vander Werf, Director of Industry Operations (DIO) for Houston ATF (responsible for overseeing inspection of all federal gun and explosives licensees in the area), was arrested while in New Orleans on government business, after damaging a hotel room (paid for with tax dollars) in Metairie, LA. Damage consisted of disabling the fire alarm and replacing a bedroom door with a piece of plywood with a circular hole cut in the middle, wrapped in gray duct tape (known as a "glory hole)". The hotel manager had received a call reporting numerous young men entering and exiting the room and "sex noises" coming from the room. Vander Werf admitted that he put the plywood on the door and disabled the fire alarms. ATF confirmed Vander Werf was in the New Orleans area on official business. It has been confirmed that on or about Valentine's Day, 2011, Russell Vander Werf was reassigned to ATF Headquarters in Washington.

June 22, 2011. "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), under fire for allowing U.S.-purchased guns to flow to Mexican criminals, celebrated its first gay pride event on Wednesday. The celebration at ATF's Washington headquarters was intended to recognize the "accomplishments and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans to ATF and the nation, and to promote awareness of the LGBT culture," ATF said in a news release."
Our Tax Dollars at work! This is outrageous. Clearly, ATF has excess budget.

Russell Vander Werf? Oh, yeah. Recognize gay accomplishments? Right. Something for ATF to be proud about.... Gay Pride? My Ass!



On Wednesday 6/22/2011 ATF HQ celebrated Gay Pride. http://nation.foxnew...furious-scandal

The real issue with the arrest of the IOI supervisor is his alleged criminal conduct while on official government business. The alleged felony and misdemeanor for which he was arrested may have been in furtherance of his personal sexual preferences that was celebrated by ATF, but are not what he was charged with. He was actually arrested and his official position with ATF is why he received preferential treatment by ATF. Don’t confuse criminal behavior with sensational behavior, although ATF does that as a matter of routine when it comes to the conduct of mere agents.

A review of ATF’s Code of Conduct policy will show that agents are instructed to follow the conduct of those in their chain of command when they are not clear on how to proceed. Not an advisable route to take. Those in the upper ranks of ATF have shown they are Untouchable, whereas if agents followed in their behavioral paths they are punished. Need examples? Review other posting on this site.

#12 Retired and loving it

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 06:11 AM

Whatever Vince Cefalu may have done pales in comparison to this felon's crimes!!!!!!

But then Vince is only a street agent. This disgusting pervert is one of the annointed ones.

What has become of the fine agency for which I once worked? You have done quite a joib Melson.


#13 Citizen

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 05:59 AM

CLEAN UP ATF

Let me start by stating that what anyone does in private, is nobody's business but their own....

That being said:

December. 2009. Russell Vander Werf, Director of Industry Operations (DIO) for Houston ATF (responsible for overseeing inspection of all federal gun and explosives licensees in the area), was arrested while in New Orleans on government business, after damaging a hotel room (paid for with tax dollars) in Metairie, LA. Damage consisted of disabling the fire alarm and replacing a bedroom door with a piece of plywood with a circular hole cut in the middle, wrapped in gray duct tape (known as a "glory hole)". The hotel manager had received a call reporting numerous young men entering and exiting the room and "sex noises" coming from the room. Vander Werf admitted that he put the plywood on the door and disabled the fire alarms. ATF confirmed Vander Werf was in the New Orleans area on official business. It has been confirmed that on or about Valentine's Day, 2011, Russell Vander Werf was reassigned to ATF Headquarters in Washington.

June 22, 2011. "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), under fire for allowing U.S.-purchased guns to flow to Mexican criminals, celebrated its first gay pride event on Wednesday. The celebration at ATF's Washington headquarters was intended to recognize the "accomplishments and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans to ATF and the nation, and to promote awareness of the LGBT culture," ATF said in a news release."
Our Tax Dollars at work! This is outrageous. Clearly, ATF has excess budget.

Russell Vander Werf? Oh, yeah. Recognize gay accomplishments? Right. Something for ATF to be proud about.... Gay Pride? My Ass!

#14 Winston Smith

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Posted 09 April 2011 - 03:55 PM

Shadow,
Thanks for the links. How embarrasing for the Agency. Is this guy still on duty or have they suspended him? Is this guy connected as in one of the "Chosen One's" golf buddies, FLETC roomate, or some such crap? Employees such as this and some of the other jerks cited here really have no business working for any federal agency. Why haven't members of Congress demanded an independent investigation?

Mr. Winston Smith,

If I could make this stuff up I would be in Hollywood making a fortune. Unfortunately what you read here is true. For info more simply search the Internet or check these sites I found in a Google search.
http://search.nola.c...sell Vanderwerf
http://blogs.houston..._agent_gets.php



#15 The Shadow

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Posted 09 April 2011 - 12:40 PM

Mr. Winston Smith, If I could make this stuff up I would be in Hollywood making a fortune. Unfortunately what you read here is true. For info more simply search the Internet or check these sites I found in a Google search. http://search.nola.c...sell Vanderwerf http://blogs.houston..._agent_gets.php

#16 Winston Smith

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Posted 09 April 2011 - 07:22 AM

You guys have opened up my eyes to some serious f'in abuses. Are these below stories even close to the truth? If so, why have memebers of Congress not yet done something? People who knowingly remove hotel smoke detectors and set up glory holes in their hotel bathrooms while on Gov't travel really need a psych evaluation and should not be in any sort of leadership position. Same goes for those who's cars are towed from Strip Clubs or lie under oath. Please tell me you guys are exagerating? I hate when people discuss rumors of such conduct in the office. I try to stay away from those chats. If true, this is seriously wrong and something must be done. Why do I feel let down?

#17 The Shadow

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 08:35 PM

Don’t lose sight of the felony that he was charged with and how that relates to the mission of ATF. His alleged felony offense was disabling the smoke alarm in a hotel. This alleged conduct took place while he was on official government business. ATF is tasked with the investigation of arson and the NRT has been dispatched to investigate many tragic hotel fires. The primary safety device mandated by law to protect the lives of people in hotels from fires (and the smoke that kills them) is the smoke alarm. His alleged criminal conduct not only potentially threated the lives of anyone staying in the hotel (thereby affecting Interstate commerce), but was in direct opposition to one of the mandates of the investigative authority established by Congress for ATF. I see it as the same type of offense as if a DEA Agent was caught smoking crack. Isn’t this an example of yet another ATF high level supervisor ignoring the law and disregarding public safety for their own personal gain, while only paying lip service to the policies and Orders everyone below them must obey?

One aspect of ATF’s Code of Conduct Orders is to regulate off-duty behavior to prevent the appearance of conduct that could potentially affect the efficiency of the service. This extents as far as agents having to obtain written permission (from do as I say Ellen-or Loose) for anything outside the scope of ATF employment including volunteer work at your church. ATF seeks to regulate what agents do in their church but continues to employ and apparently promote an on government business upper management supervisor accused of damaging hotel property by replacing a hotel bathroom door with his personally owned glory hole door and disarming the smoke alarm. This manager’s behavior endangered the lives of tens or perhaps hundreds as they slept while he pursued his own Fast and Furious mission. ATF policy makers accepting this type of conduct by its managers should leave a foul taste in the tax paying public’s mouth.

What happened to the criminal charges he was actually arrested for? If they are still pending does that mean ATF moved someone while out on bond for a felony? Was his move that essential to the mission of the agency that he had to be moved at the expense of the government before his charges were adjudicated? What a waste of the taxpayers money if he is later convicted. Were his charges dismissed? If so did someone use their official capacity to have that done? Does anyone know?

#18 Retired and loving it

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 09:10 AM

Retired:

Someone just helped 99 NY AVE out by relieving them of that task.

Since no explanation has been offered to taxpayers or employees, maybe congress can get one.



That is good news. The decision on how to handle the RV matter was so disgusting to me that I was considering writing to Issa and Grassley myself.

Like Webmaster said, I really cannot believe that RV can face people. Evidently he has no shame whatsoever.

#19 Zorro

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 07:08 AM

Zorro, rest assured that none of the ATF "leadership" has told them!

Retired:

Someone just helped 99 NY AVE out by relieving them of that task.

Since no explanation has been offered to taxpayers or employees, maybe congress can get one.
The views and opinions expressed by the author are just that. They are not the official opinion of anyone anywhere in any capacity.

#20 Guest_CUATF Webmaster_*

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 10:08 AM

I like it..."Walking Tall: The Final, FINAL Chapter".

I'm thinkin' Mel Gibson could replace Joe Don Baker (who's almost 80) as Pusser. After all, ol' Mel can drink with the best of us, has no problem ripping someone a new one on the phone or in-person, owns his own church chapel, is originally from "down under", is apparently used to beatin' on people, and has already been fingerprinted. It's got to work out better than some career lawyer, right? If we could merge the plot line with the original "Mad Max", we'd have a winner for sure, although Ken Melson with a Mohawk in studded leathers might be a bit of a stretch.

By the way, I'm not sure it's appropriate to use terms such as, "roaming the halls" or "wooden club" in this particular topic. On second thought...totally appropriate! :lol:

Webmaster, too bad Buford Pusser is longer with us. I can picture him as being very effective while roaming the halls of 99 NY Ave. with his wooden club!



#21 Retired and loving it

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 09:55 AM

Webmaster, too bad Buford Pusser is longer with us. I can picture him as being very effective while roaming the halls of 99 NY Ave. with his wooden club!

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 09:19 AM

Let's be real...there is zero question that there's an enormous double-standard between mere employees and the managerial "elite" when it comes to disciplinary action within ATF. Even the most cursory OIG or OSC audit would immediately confirm this fact, and that, no matter how you slice it, is a violation of OPM regulations which mandate that all discipline must be meted out in a fair, consistent and equitable manner. This is not all that uncommon in federal agencies in general, but ATF has taken it to a level that can only be described as breathtakingly blatant. They don't even bother to try and justify or disguise it, because they believe themselves to be far above such bourgeois considerations.

The main question I have about all this is, how in the bloody Hell can this guy (RV) show his face anywhere? I mean, in the hyper-masculine world of federal law enforcement, could any of you walk around as if nothing happened, knowing that everyone is secretly laughing their asses off behind your back, picturing you....well, you know. The sheer volume of subtle puns and jokes that I would want to work into any conversation or meeting involving this man are basically limitless. Personally? I would resign and flee to some glorious (couldn't resist) South American country out of sheer personal embarrassment and shame. Then again, we are talking about ATF management here, and HQ, no less, where shame and embarrassment seem to have been eradicated from the daily psyche.

Again, personally? I really feel for the guy (in a completely asexual, hetero, human-empathy sort of way, damn you), but I'm just sayin'...business should be business. So, if he did receive a paid PCS move, I would think the average taxpayer, upon learning the sordid background details, would be justifiably outraged. Is there any question that a mere agent or employee caught in the same situation would have been saying, "Would you like fries with that?" within a New Orleans minute? Is it not embarrassingly apparent that the concept of "Innocent until proven guilty" only applies to those above a certain pay grade? It's really disgusting, even if it were not patently unlawful.

It is not exaggeration in the slightest to say that ATF's senior, middle and in some cases, lower management "team" has devolved over many years into a genuine "culture of corruption". It was probably inevitable, really. A small agency with a critical and publicly important mission, a huge budget, very little effective external oversight, and almost no effective managerial controls. It is most likely axiomatic that such an agency would eventually be stacked from top to almost bottom with ruthlessly ambitious, self-aggrandizing "yes"-men who, while they might once have been good, brave LE Officers and public servants, inexorably succumbed to the pressure of fitting in, becoming members of the Platinum and Gold Card Clubs, and who necessarily will do just about whatever it takes, legal, honest or otherwise, to protect their prerogatives and that of The Club.

However, just because it may have been bound to happen, doesn't make it right or acceptable to those on the pointy end of ATF's spear, or the taxpayers that fund the entire enterprise. Can this rat's nest of glad-handing, back-slapping, self-serving, mission-degrading bullshit be repaired to any appreciable degree? I don't know. It's a very complex problem because, among other things:

  • It would take a truly unconventional, hard-charging, uncompromising, supremely skeptical, innovative, highly perceptive and relentless crusader of a big-time hardass Director to overcome and overwhelm the elaborate network of truth-filtering, self-protecting distortion-mongers that now populate much of the management chain from AD to SAC level, certainly.
  • Those Card Members will fight like cornered possums to resist, deflect, forestall, prevent and otherwise frustrate any genuine efforts to bring them back into realm of lawful governance, with all the restrictions, limitations, pain-in-the-ass procedures and "niceties" that entails. Doing things by the book and treating employees like valued assets is a lot of "extra" work, and most of them don't feel as if they should have to stoop to such nonsense.
It seems obvious that there would have to be an initial "wave of terror" (sort of like Stalin's purges, but without the actual offings), in which certain well-deserving heads would have to roll. Nothing else would be even marginally effective at convincing the good ol' boys that there's a new Sheriff in town. There would have to be a credible, aggressive, prompt and reasonably transparent process for examining and justly resolving the many pending employee complaints and lawsuits, probably with the assistance of an outside, neutral third party. Any presumption of guilt should be, at least initially, biased in favor of the employee(s) in question, at least until drastic measures can be emplaced to reverse the present atmosphere of draconian retaliation and unfair action. And finally, there would have to be continuous, skeptical, "in-your-face" oversight, proactive intervention, and an ironclad policy that is truly enforced, as opposed to just meaningless words blathered about in some bloviating webcast:

"We will hold our managers at all levels to a higher standard than that of our line employees, and will not under any circumstances tolerate unethical, unfair, retaliatory or unlawful conduct of any kind. If you intentionally or repeatedly screw the pooch, whether operationally or administratively, you are gone. You are replaceable and as expendable as anyone else, so do your job, follow the rules, and be a leader, not just a manager. If you don't have what it takes to motivate your troops, make them want to be a part of your team, and to be stern but fair as appropriate, there are 25 other talented people ready to step up and sit in your chair."

That's pretty much the opposite of the present paradigm which essentially holds that:

  • Thou shalt never admit a mistake of any kind for this can lead to accountability, an abomination to the faithful;
  • Rule thy domain by fear and intimidation, for verily, these are the keys to career advancement;
  • Brook no question nor dissension, lest thy fiefdom be imperiled. Cruelly and completely crush those have the temerity to imagine that not all wisdom is handed down from on high;
  • If thou shall stray from the path of the appearance of righteousness, fear not, for the wagons shall be circled and thy loins girded;
  • Thou shalt not bear false witness is more a of a guideline than a "Commandment". The foremost Commandment is to protect the integrity of the Club and thou shall surely be rewarded. Hallelujah, Amen.
This mythical Director I envision most definitely could not be the typical career attorney or bureaucrat, as this would only guarantee the same "CYA at all costs" corporate culture that facilitates, for example, a Chief Counsel's Office that routinely lies under oath and uses the full weight of the agency's resources to smear and destroy the careers of good people so that the machine will never be effectively challenged or threatened.

Does such a person exist? Probably, but would he ever be tapped by the ultimate powers-that-be for the Directorship (and be vain or stupid enough to actually accept the nomination)? Hmmm...probably not likely. But one can always dream, right?

Promotion or not. Position of leadership? Seriously? Martin fired or attempted to fire multiple agents in San Francisco for no other reason than the wouldn't kiss his ring and he kept looking like a fool for supporting the cases and policies he did. But a senior manager can .......well we know what he did. Two sets of rules.



#23 Retired and loving it

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 06:24 AM

Do Issa and Grassley know about this yet?



Zorro, rest assured that none of the ATF "leadership" has told them!

#24 Zorro

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 04:47 AM

Do Issa and Grassley know about this yet?
The views and opinions expressed by the author are just that. They are not the official opinion of anyone anywhere in any capacity.

#25 Doc Holiday

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 10:51 PM

Promotion or not. Position of leadership? Seriously? Martin fired or attempted to fire multiple agents in San Francisco for no other reason than the wouldnt kiss his ring and he kept looking like a fool for supporting the cases and policies he did. But a senior manager can .......well we know what he did. Two sets of rules.

I don't believe Russ is being promoted in HQ, he is already a GS - 15, he is just getting a paid move back to HQ. Apparently there is no morality clause in ATF or ethical problem with using his gov't paid for room for his antics. Also, did he use his gov't computer to advertise on Craiglist? Maybe what he was advertising was not for profit but he sure got something out of it.

All I know is if he was a teacher he would be let go, but since he is an ATF manager he gets a paid move back to HQ to finish out his career quietly(hopefully).



#26 bythebook

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 05:14 PM

I don't believe Russ is being promoted in HQ, he is already a GS - 15, he is just getting a paid move back to HQ. Apparently there is no morality clause in ATF or ethical problem with using his gov't paid for room for his antics. Also, did he use his gov't computer to advertise on Craiglist? Maybe what he was advertising was not for profit but he sure got something out of it. All I know is if he was a teacher he would be let go, but since he is an ATF manager he gets a paid move back to HQ to finish out his career quietly(hopefully).

#27 Snake bite

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 04:01 PM

What everyone is forgetting is that ATF has a double standard for discipline. If you are a 13 or below, the rules apply. If there is not a rule for what you did, the SES gang will make up a violation and a punishment. If you are a 14 or above, do what you want, there are no punishments, only rewards for all of your actions. I have mentioned how some of these double standard punishments are handed out to the lowly working Agents and IOI's in previous posts. I will rehash a couple examples I am aware of, there are more, but here are a couple instances within the Louisville FD and beyond. One agent went into a cussing fit and shoved another agent who asked him to watch his language. Since the offender was on the fasttrack to RACdom the incident was covered up by abuser SAC Vido. Guess what, the offender has since received an office in CA. One agent sends a email stating his feelings towards the spineless management within ATF. That agent is nearly fired and received a lengthy suspension. The 14 IOI in one office threatens a subordinate IOI with blowing the IOI up. What happens to the 14, absolutely nothing, abuser SAC Vido covers it up. Now, he is still managing the employee he threatened. One agent is involved in a car wreck, while off duty. The passenger in the car was not a family member. What does ATF do, they suspend the agent for conduct unbecoming. An IOI gets a cash advance for a work trip. The trip gets cancelled. The IOI pays the money back. ATF suspends the grade 13 IOI. A DIO runs a glory hole and disables smoke alarms on a hotel, while in travel status, what happens? ATF PROMOTES THE OFFENDER. I can name numerous other examples that I have been told either first or second hand , but they all follow the same pattern. If you are a 14 or above, lie, cheat, steal, attack and plan out how to blow up a working agent or IOI, no big deal, they are replaceable. Voice your opinion, work hard and let ATF management find out your identity. Your career is over, or at least the SES gang will try to fire you. I hope the mentality changes, but since we have no leader to hold the abuser's accountable the best thing the working people can do is stand tall, hold their ground, refuse to be abused by the SES gang, stand up for what is right and when given the chance, put it to the abuser's within ATF.

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 11:15 AM

ATF can no longer discipline anyone, even for true misjudgements, based on the standard and precident that has been set.

Vanessa McLemore was found to be lying to federal investigators on not just one, but two separate official inqueries each years apart and ATF allowed her to remain on the job and gave her time and room to retire comfortably even promoting her retirement on the ATF intraweb by calling her an ATF "trailblazer".

Marvin Richardson was found to have answered questions from federal investigators durin an official inquery with "less than candor" (lying) and he has since been promoted twice, to off all job the Chief of the Professional Review Board and most recently the SAC of Denver.

John Torres was found guilty of discrimination by a court decision while the SAC in San Francisco and ATF convienently trasfered him to the SAC Los Angeles.

Russ Vanderwerf is arrested for participating in sex games and haveing commited crimes in doing so and is promoted to HQ.

Matt Horace as the SAC of New Jersey gets his G-ride towed away from a topless bar during duty hours and then uses his ATF credit card to pay the towing fees and remains in place with no discipline.

These events each call for immediate termination according to the ATF disciplinary matrix but all have been given a pass.

So, as an ATF agent, should ATF propose discipline on you for such things as poor performance or recieving a nasty email on your government computer you will be just fine. ATF has made you untouchable by making those who have commited much more serious crimes and violations untouchable. ATF has created internal anarchy with their willingness to uphold a double standard and protect the chosen ones while attacking the peasant agents.

Al I have to say is, if ATF Internal Affairs ever comes after me with some piss poor reason while all along they are transferring an alleged sex offender to Washington D.C. to be promoted, then they will be facing one hell of a fight. I've contacted my attorney, and is well aware of what is going on, and he sees this stuff and just big belly laughs!! I'm serious. !!!! He to cannot believe the circus atmosphere ATF Headquarters has become.



#29 Retired and loving it

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 06:13 AM

Russell Wonderperv. Things are really in bad shape when an organization places that much confidence in a person who should be in jail!

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 06:10 AM

Al I have to say is, if ATF Internal Affairs ever comes after me with some piss poor reason while all along they are transferring an alleged sex offender to Washington D.C. to be promoted, then they will be facing one hell of a fight. I've contacted my attorney, and is well aware of what is going on, and he sees this stuff and just big belly laughs!! I'm serious. !!!! He to cannot believe the circus atmosphere ATF Headquarters has become.



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Posted 13 March 2011 - 03:18 AM

Al I have to say is, if ATF Internal Affairs ever comes after me with some piss poor reason while all along they are transferring an alleged sex offender to Washington D.C. to be promoted, then they will be facing one hell of a fight. I've contacted my attorney, and is well aware of what is going on, and he sees this stuff and just big belly laughs!! I'm serious. !!!! He to cannot believe the circus atmosphere ATF Headquarters has become.

#32 NormanClature

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 12:57 AM

Does everyone remember this: What began as a routine investigation of a malfunctioning fire-alarm system at a suburban New Orleans Residence Inn ended with police discovering a scene worthy of Quentin Tarantino and Dennis Hopper at their most depraved and the arrest of 44-year-old Russell Vanderwerf, a Houston-based agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Well I have heard thru the grapevine that the bosses in their great wisdom have PROMOTED him! So confident in the decision and respect for his accomplishments, they specifically witheld the selection announcement from the ATF broadcast!

If anyone has any direct intel on this subject I would love to hear it.

Great Job HQ
WHAT NEXT?

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 09:36 PM

Courtesy of Michelle Hunter, The Times-Picayune

An employee of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was arrested on charges of disabling the fire alarm system and damaging property in his Metairie hotel room, according to a Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office arrest report.

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Russell Vanderwerf, 44, of Houston was booked Dec. 1 with simple criminal damage valued at $500 to $5,000 and interfering with fire prevention after staffers at the Residence Inn, 3 Galleria Blvd., began investigating a malfunctioning fire alarm system, the arrest report said. A technician who was summoned Nov. 30 tracked the alarm problem to the second-floor room registered to Vanderwerf, the arrest report said. Inside, staffers found the smoke detectors in the bedroom and kitchen-den had been removed and the horn that blares alarms was hanging out of the wall.

But the staffers and a deputy sheriff also discovered that someone had removed the bedroom door from its hinges and replaced it with a 5-by-4-foot piece of plywood affixed to the frame and the drywall with hinges and screws, the arrest report said. The door had two locks attached from the bedroom side and a circular hole padded with duct tape. The deputy noted in the arrest report that the hole appeared to be used "in some sort of sexual act."

A front-desk staffer told authorities that she'd received a complaint from a hotel guest who said the door to that room had been propped open on the night of Nov. 30 and that she noticed several "young men" entering and exiting. The guest also complained of hearing "sex noises" coming from the room, the arrest report said.

Vanderwerf was taken into custody at ATF's New Orleans area field office, located at 1 Galleria Blvd. across the street from the hotel, the report said.

When questioned about the damage, Vanderwerf admitted to disabling the smoke detectors because he said they were repeatedly triggered by steam from his shower, the report said. He also admitted to putting up the plywood door but would give not other details.

The arrest report said hotel staffers found paint and caulk in the room, suggesting he might have intended to fix the damage himself.

The Sheriff's Office would not comment on the case Tuesday. Col. John Fortunato, spokesman for the agency, said the matter remained under investigation.

Vanderwerf was released from the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center on Dec. 2 on a $4,000 bond. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

He serves as the director of industry operations for ATF's Houston field office. The industry operations division is the regulatory arm of the agency, responsible for overseeing the inspection of all federal gun and explosives licensees, said ATF spokesman Drew Wade. He confirmed that Vanderwerf was in the New Orleans area on official business.

"We are aware of the arrest by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office," said Wade, who added that he could not discuss anything that could be connected to a continuing investigation.




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