WICHITA, Kan. — Officials at a state psychiatric hospital in Larned weren’t aware that the man hired as its chief financial officer in 2015 had been the focus of a federal investigation, according to the state agency that oversees the facility.
David Fender joined Larned State Hospital in August 2015, after serving a year as chief financial officer for the Government National Mortgage Association, or Ginnie Mae, a federally owned corporation that insures government-backed mortgages.
The state announced Fender’s departure in August when it also launched a financial audit of the mental hospital.
According to an April 2015 federal inspector general’s report provided to The Wichita Eagle (http://j.mp/2cR9ATe ) in response to a Freedom of Information request, before Fender was hired to work at Larned, he used his public office for private gain and made false statements to the federal government — potential criminal violations.
Federal prosecutors declined to prosecute, in part because the Department of Housing and Urban Development where he worked had already begun termination proceedings, according to the report. The agency redacted the subject’s name in the report, but details match what is known about Fender. Fender didn’t return phone calls from the newspaper or The Associated Press.
Angela de Rocha is the spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, which oversees the state’s psychiatric hospitals. She said when Fender was hired to work at Larned State Hospital, hospital officials did not know about the federal investigation, which was first reported by the website The Daily Caller in July. De Rocha said she couldn’t give details about the state audit of the hospital.
One issue the federal investigation noted was that Fender provided false information to Ginnie Mae during the hiring process, and that he had been forced to leave a previous employer, who did not recommend Fender for government security clearance or employment. It’s unclear whether Kansas performed a background check for Fender or consulted federal officials before hiring him.
John Milburn, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Administration, which oversees the state’s human resources management, said in an email background checks aren’t required for all state employees. Milburn said agencies “are strongly encouraged to check references during the hiring process.”
De Rocha said in an email that her agency requires only staffers who work directly with patients to undergo background checks before employment.
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com