Ex-Veterans Affairs official says he shared sensitive info

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AKRON, Ohio (AP) — The former director of Veterans Affairs medical centers in Cleveland and Dayton has testified that he received confidential information from officials in Washington D.C. and passed it on to people who paid him as a consultant.

William Montague testified Tuesday at the federal trial of an architect, accused of benefiting from that arrangement when bidding on projects, the Northeast Ohio Media Group (http://bit.ly/1Tt5o7R) reported Tuesday.

Montague’s cooperation with prosecutors was part of an agreement under which he pleaded guilty to more than 60 counts, including money laundering and disclosing public contract information. In exchange, he could have his prison sentence shortened by up to two years. He was set to be sentenced to as much as 6 1/2 years in prison last September.

His testimony marks the first time the 64-year-old Brecksville man has talked publicly at length about details of his alleged crimes, the media group said.

Montague said James Sullivan, director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Asset Enterprise Management, and others gave him confidential information during his monthly visits to Washington, D.C. He had retired from Cleveland’s medical center in 2010 and was given the information while serving as the interim director of the Dayton VA Medical Center.

The documents showed what VA projects were probably going to be included in an upcoming federal budget, he said, information that is supposed to only be released each February. He said he was given information on projects in Illinois, Kentucky and California and that he gave them to Mark Farmer, an Arlington, Virginia architect, and his other clients.

He said he was given access others would never get.

“(Sullivan) would say ‘keep this close to the chest,’ ‘don’t pass this around,’ that sort of thing if it was really sensitive,” Montague said.

His testimony is expected to continue on Wednesday.

More than 60 elected officials, public employees and contractors have been convicted as a result of a corruption investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.


Information from: Northeast Ohio Media Group, http://www.cleveland.com