Hundreds of federal workers with cancer, breathing conditions and other illnesses that may have been caused by hazardous materials at a nuclear weapons plant in Kansas City, have been trying for years to collect benefits from federal programs that have been set up to compensate workers like them.
In a statement to Breitbart news, the congressman said that his office had “no record of any constituent asking for assistance who has not been followed up with.”
The statement continued,”if there is anyone who wants further assistance they are encouraged to call, visit, or even email our office. Congressman Cleaver has worked extensively on this issue including hosting informational town halls on the health concerns, assisting in making experts available to help with the claims process, and leading the effort to locate a new work facility.”
But Maurice Copeland, a former nuclear weapons worker at the Bannister Federal Complex, and member of the DEEOIC Interim Advisory Board, told Breitbart News, last week, that he personally handed his own claim to Cleaver aide Geoff Jolley, hoping that the Congressman would help him get it processed. When he checked back, Copeland said Jolley had stated he had no knowledge of the documents.
What more, Copeland maintains that he and the NIOSH Ombudsman set up the town hall for which Cleaver took credit. He knows of no other town halls that Cleaver has hosted on the issue even though in his statement, the congressman took credit for holding “informational town halls” (plural.)
Copeland wrote via email; “the Town Hall Cleaver mentioned was NOT engineered by him at ALL, everyone involved knows that, Denise Brock and I had that Town Hall set up, got all the participants together, months before he decided to lend his name to it.”
Denise Brock is the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Ombudsman for EEOICPA Part B.
Copeland maintained that there had been several other town halls “long before Cleaver accepted to be involved.” He said that they have been hosted by Jason Klumb, Region 7 GSA Administrator, Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, and the International Association of Machinist Union Hall, among others.
“Our work has been going on since 2000 on informational meetings,” Copeland declared. He said Cleaver never took part in any of the meetings prior to the 2010 town hall (which at the time was derided as a “dog and pony show.)
“This meeting also was TOTALLY arranged by Ms. Brock and I…TOTALLY,” Copeland told Breitbart News via email. “Cleaver attended in GRANDSTANDING FASHION, in which he excluded me from any participation, considering my criticism of his years of neglecting the workers’ issues.”
Asked it it was correct to say he was shut out after setting up the town hall with Denise Brock, Copeland said, “shut me COMPLETELY OUT with personal Sheriff escort, YES!”
He said that he and Brock had scheduled the meeting to take place with or without Cleaver’s participation.
“How could he have possibly, set up the Town Hall?” He asked. “Truth is, Denise and I set that Town Hall up, arranged ALL the Government Agencies to participate(which was required). As you have also read, Cleaver waited until the LAST minute to confirm his participation (Notice of the meeting was put out on 20 Aug., 2010 Friday, and the meeting was on Monday 23 Aug, 2010) three days notice. That did not give the workers good notification.”
The town hall had originally been set up to be an open forum, but according to Copeland, Jason Klumb and Cleaver turned it into a “dog and pony show.” Copeland claims he was not allowed to speak at all and was assigned a sheriff minder.
Maurice Copeland is a 32 year Cold War Veteran of the Nuclear Weapons Industry at Honeywell Weapon Plant in Kansas City. He also is a veteran of the United States Army with service in Vietnam.
Asked how it felt to have been assigned a minder at a town hall he helped set up, he replied, “I felt kind of HONORED that the government thought that much of me” and quoted George Orwell: In a time of universal deceit — telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
Breitbart News contacted Congressman Cleaver’s office for comment and a list of the other town halls he has held on the Bannister Federal Complex sick worker issue, but as of this writing, there has been no response.