On Monday, Government Services Administration chief Martha Johnson resigned as news of a lavish 2010 Las Vegas conference came to light.
The event, held at the M Resort Spa Casino on October 25-29, cost taxpayers $820,000 and included “theatrical talent,” a “red carpet” dinner, an after dinner wrap up party in a loft suite, and pre-conference scouting trips for to simulate a “dry run” of the event totaling $130,000 for 31 GSA employees.
President Obama’s Chief of Staff Jack Lew says the White House took prompt action once the excesses were made known:
“When the White House was informed of the Inspector General’s findings we acted quickly to determine who was responsible for such a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars.”
According to Reuters, the conference wasn’t the only example of wasteful spending:
Other questionable expenses detailed in the report include clothing purchases for GSA employees, tuxedo rentals and semi-private, catered parties in officials’ hotel rooms or loft suites. A $75,000 contract was also awarded to a vendor for a team-building exercise that included the purchase of 24 bikes, the report said.
The GSA’s Inspector General report notes that one administrator told conference planners that their goal should be to make the conference “over the top” so that the event outstripped the size and scale of past conferences.