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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Not over yet

Not over yet

To the Editor,

I wish to clarify a few points in your article,

"American Aid Project in turmoil", Feb 24, 1995.

Concerning Mr

Leckinger's statement of going over very dime that came into the country and was

under his control and not ten cents missing. Ask him what happened to the

envelope that contained $2,500 that went missing from the safe one day. Only

three people had access to that safe and Tom Leckinger never even had an

inquiry, never mind an investigation into the matter. In fact I am willing to

bet that nowhere on any financial statements is there mention of that $2,500

that just seemed to walk away. That is only one of many examples I can document

that would dispute Mr Leckinger's claim of total accountability of program funds

under his control.

Mr Leckinger's statements about being debarred completely speaks for itself.

However, my statement was turned into pablum. I stated to the Post and still

maintain that it was unconscionable for Mr Muller to hire Ton Leckinger having

full knowledge that at that time Tom Leckinger was under indictment on a felony

charge for grand theft, not facing disciplinary charges as stated. The fact that

Mr Leckinger has not been found guilty of any crime to date is not in question

here. The fact remains that at the time Mr Muller hired Tom Leckinger he knew

Leckinger was under indictment for grand larceny theft. For that action I

challenged Mr Muller's professional conduct. Even though the judge has dropped

the charges in return for Mr Leckinger's accepting being debarred and paying

back restitution, the District Attorney in this case has appealed that decision

and the case is still being decided. It is not all over and done with. Not


Mr Muller is correct in stating my personal conflicts with the

organization. After all I was forced to resign, had all funding terminated

without prior warning or notice, and have been denied by Mr Muller's VVAF any

review of my case-never mind an appeal of their punitive actions. In fact, not

one person from VVAF, National or it's governing board of directors has made any

attempt to communicate with me, an eight-year veteran of VVAF, on a professional

or personal level, nor have they made any attempt to answer my many attempts for

information relating to my case. I simply have no rights or do not exist in

their eyes. I have been forced to obtain a lawyer and am in the process of

reviewing my legal options against Mr Muller and his VVAF.

Mr Muller did ask Mr Leckinger to resign in August 1994 but what he

conveniently leaves out is that he ordered Mr Leckinger out of the team house

immediately and had him checked into a hotel room. He then went on to hire Mr

Leckinger back as a special consultant under a USAID extension grant at an

increased salary of almost $ 2,000 per month. Mr Muller paid Mr Leckinger his

consultants fee covertly through a live-in companions bank account via wire


It's not the first time Mr Muller has fired Tom Leckinger.

When Leckinger was the General Council for Mr Muller's Vietnam Veterans of

America (VVA) he as fires in 1995 by Mr Muller in a hotel room in front of

witnesses who would not hesitate to state so on the record. I believe it had to

do with an incident in south Florida that Mr Leckinger was sent down there to

clean up.

I disliked your ending paragraph concerning derogatory

statements about Vietnam veterans still fighting the war but you can not use the

persons name who made the statement. Well this is not about the Vietnam war,

it's about real people who are on record challenging an NGO's integrity in it's

process and procedures for spending other people's money. It's about real

people, both foreign and Khmer, losing their jobs, livelihoods, reputations and

hard earned respect.

Perhaps your anonymous "insider" should examine his

or her own motives for playing it safe by refusing to take a closer look at the

dangerous situation that does in fact exist at VVAF.

I'm on record and

always sign my name.

- Ron Podlaski, Disgruntled Employee, Vietnam Veterans of America




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