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GSA Head Quits After Extravagant Vegas Conference

The chief of the General Services Administration resigned Monday, after an internal government investigator discovered the agency's lavish spending on a 2010 conference in Las Vegas.

Among the GSA's responsibilities: developing government-wide cost-minimizing policies.

Administrator Martha N. Johnson resigned after it was found that the agency had spent about $820,000 on a conference for 300 employees at the M Resort in Henderson. Two of her top deputies were fired and four managers were placed on leave.

In her resignation letter, Johnson wrote that "a significant misstep" was taken by the agency, and that "taxpayer dollars were squandered," according to The Washington Post.

GSA Inspector General Brian D. Miller released a report on the $823,000 training conference, The Post reported.

The extravagant spending included a thousand $7 sushi rolls, $48.80 breakfasts and $95 dinners, $75,000 for a team-building bike-building exercise and a total of $136,504 for two pre-event scouting trips, five planning meetings and a "dry run" of the conference, the investigator's report said, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

White House Chief of Staff Jacob J. Lew said the Obama administration became aware of the year-long investigation in March. President Obama "was outraged by the excessive spending, questionable dealings with contractors, and disregard for taxpayer dollars," Lew said in a statement to The Post, calling for "all those responsible to be held fully accountable."

The Post also reported that Johnson will be replaced by Dan Tangherlini, the Treasury Department's assistant secretary for management, who was also the city administrator for the District and acting director of Metro.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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