Governor accepts resignation of veterans’ affairs director amid grant controversy

Jim Brown/Indiana Department of Veterans' Affairs

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Gov. Eric Holcomb accepted the resignation of the head of the Indiana Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the governor’s office said Friday.

Director Jim Brown had led the agency for two administrations following “a distinguished military career where he was awarded three Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam and Afghanistan,” according to a statement from the governor.

His resignation followed an investigation from our media partners at the IndyStar that found Brown awarded grant money meant for veterans in need to his own employees.

“Sgt. Maj. Brown is a good man with a distinguished service record,” Gov. Holcomb said. “I am grateful for his longstanding service to our state and country.”

The IndyStar’s investigation uncovered that at least 11 of the agency’s employees, many of them making $40,000 to $50,000 a year, received about $40,000 through the Military Family Relief Fund.

Brown told the IndyStar that his employees had as much right to the money as any other veteran. However, the investigation found grants for employees were approved within a day or less while other veterans waited weeks or months for assistance.

Brown was originally appointed to the post in 2013 by then-Gov. Mike Pence.