The IG investigation found that the cemetery had “no acquisition strategy, no integrated IT system and a series of IT regulatory violations.” And the cemetery’s use of outside contractors had not been reviewed by outside Army officials for more than 10 years.
One contract was so flawed that a handwritten note attached to a legal review of it said, “This is probably not the best way to do business,” according to the IG. But the note said that the “contract is not illegal.”
Six of the early IT contracts at Arlington were awarded to a then-new Manassas company called Offise Solutions, the only company mentioned by name in the IG report. Between March 2004 and June 2005, the business, which had never previously won a government contract, was paid more than $700,000 by the cemetery, according to federal contracting records.
The company delivered approximately 60 CDs of scanned burial files, according to the Army’s report. But “these records were not delivered in a standardized format and were not stored as part of a database,” the report said.
Company officials have previously said they fulfilled all obligations, and they have denied wrongdoing. Company officials could not be reached Tuesday.
The company that obtained the most lucrative contracts for IT work was Alpha Technology Group of Waldorf, which was paid about $2.5 million from 2004 to 2007, according to federal records. Calls to the company were not returned.
Grey, the Criminal Investigation Command spokesman, said Wednesday that the practice of reserved grave sites is also part of the probe. The cemetery stopped formally taking reservations in 1962, but the practice of reserving choice grave sites continued, unofficially, under Raymond J. Costanzo, who was superintendent from 1972 to 1990, an Army investigation found. Metzler, his successor, who ran the cemetery until he was forced to retire last year, also apparently allowed people to pick areas of the cemetery where they wanted to be buried, Army officials have said.
The Army, which investigated the matter two decades ago, has a list from 1990 with “senior officials” who have plots that “were de facto reserved in violation of Army policy,” according to a memo obtained by The Post under the Freedom of Information Act. Some of those officials were driven around the cemetery by Costanzo, who told investigators that he had allowed them to pick their spots.
Previously, the Criminal Investigation Command had looked into allegations of a conflict of interest between Arlington personnel and a contractor. Investigators referred their findings to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which declined to prosecute, citing lack of evidence. It also found that a cemetery employee’s e-mail account had been illegally accessed, but investigators could not determine by whom.
The cemetery, known for its perfectly aligned rows of white headstones, also has been plagued by a series of embarrassing revelations that several veterans and their family members were in the wrong graves. In one instance, officials found one grave site that was empty, another that had the wrong set of remains and a third that contained two sets of remains, only one of which belonged there. In October, cemetery officials, acting on a tip from an employee, discovered the mass grave of cremated remains.
Three of the eight sets of remains were identified, and so far two have been reburied, officials said. They are still working to identify one other. Four were certified as unidentifiable — and for the first time in decades, the cemetery will have to bury multiple sets of remains under a headstone that reads “Unknown.”
Staff writer Aaron C. Davis contributed to this report.