A former employee of the Iowa Veterans Home has released the recording of her interview with a state investigator reviewing allegations about the home’s commandant.
“He was very intimidating and we felt very afraid to speak up and speak out and we weren’t sure who to trust and where to go,” Lisa Purvis, the home’s former marketing director, said during her February, 2012 conversation with a Department of Administrative Services employee.
Purvis was part of the home’s senior leadership team for three and a half years, serving as the home’s chief contact with legislators. Purvis accused former Commandant David Worley of “disturbing, unprofessional and unethical behavior.” Purvis told the investigator Worley made derogatory comments about the veterans who are residents of the home. Purvis also alleged Worley told top staff at the home there was no such thing as post traumatic stress disorder, using a form of the word “bull” to describe the condition.
“I didn’t see him make that comment in a public forum, of course, because there would be significant backlash to that, so he would often speak to how much he had done for other veterans with PTSD and how knowledgeable he was about the topic and how much money he had raised to support veterans with PTSD,” Purvis said. “So it was a very contradictory attitude and statements.”
Purvis told the investigator at one point Worley made an inappropriate sexual comment to her and she feared for her personal safety on another occasion.
“It escalated to the point where he had me come into his office, he shut the door and he just sat down at his desk and told me how many guns he had at home and how he knew how to use them and also the training that he had to use them,” Purvis said.
During the interview, Purvis described what she called “bizarre and incoherent” behavior from Worley in April of 2011 when the governor’s office announced Worley was resigning for health reasons. According to Purvis, an enraged Worley used the word “stupid” then tacked on a profane phrase to describe the governor’s staff. Worley’s departure was reversed a week later and he stayed for another year and a half before resigning last fall. Last spring, Branstad described Worley as a “dedicated public servant” and he accused Worley’s critics of engaging in a “political witch hunt.”
Purvis released the recording to members of the Senate Oversight Committee late today and senate staff posted the audio on the internet, along with a letter Purvis sent to the Department of Administrative Services. Purvis told the investigator she had telephoned the agency before, to report Worley’s conduct, but her call had not been returned.