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Veterans Village of San Diego's Chief Operating Officer resigns

John Laidlaw's abrupt resignation comes amid media scrutiny of the nonprofit

SAN DIEGO — The second in command of Veterans Village of San Diego abruptly resigned this week amid continued media scrutiny over mismanagement at the nonprofit whose mission is to help local veterans address homelessness and substance.

As first reported by online news organization, inewsourcethe nonprofit's chief operating officer John Laidlaw announced his departure from Veterans Village of San Diego. 

Over the course of its investigation, inewsource spoke to dozens of residents and staff in the nonprofit's drug and alcohol treatment program who said there was widespread drug use and dangerous work and living conditions at the center located on Pacific Highway.

In a statement, Akilah Templeton, the CEO of Veterans Village, said she could not comment on personnel issues but did confirm that the nonprofit is "currently conducting a broad search to secure a new chief operating officer.

Templeton also addressed the allegations from staff and former patients of rampant and widespread drug and alcohol abuse inside Veterans Village's drug and alcohol treatment program.

"There are those in the community, primarily disgruntled employees, and former leadership, determined to jeopardize this safety net and the ongoing Support Veterans Village of San Diego provides to veterans. Veteran homelessness is down 30% in San Diego in part because of the financial assistance, rent payments, childcare payments, and supportive services provided by Veterans Village and other service providers," said Templeton."

Templeton also defended the organization and its mission, while refuting recent media reports. 

"Last year Veterans Village helped 785 families remain housed. In the past 12 months, despite a raging fentanyl crisis, a global pandemic, and a growing mental health crisis, there have only been three suspected overdoses across all Veterans Village programs countywide."

Added Templeton, "This is not indicative of rampant drug use at our facilities. That claim is completely false." 

Credit: CBS 8

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