Report: National Parks Superintendent at Whiskeytown Accused Of Ethical Violations, Misconduct

The Superintendent of Whiskeytown National Recreation Area has been under investigation by the Office of Inspector General with the U.S. Department of the Interior since August of 2017.

Posted: Jun 4, 2018 1:54 PM
Updated: Jun 4, 2018 7:34 PM

REDDING, Calif. - The Office of Inspector General With the U.S. Department of the Interior wrapped up a 10-month federal investigation into former Whiskeytown superintendent Jim Milestone.

A report with the findings of that investigation were released Monday.

The report alleges ethical violations and misconduct by Milestone who has worked as superintendent at Whiskeytown for 20 years.

Investigators interviewed 33 current and former park and regional office employees as well as representatives of the Friends of Whiskeytown (FOW), a park partner organization, and local businesses.

According to a report obtained by Action News Now, Milestone solicited donations and inappropriately collected funds for FOW.

Milestone also allegedly had park employees working on FOW projects while on duty and demonstrated unprofessional conduct when communicating with his staff.

FOW vice president of  Mark Swanson said he had read the report but said, "... in his zeal to improve the park, he [Milestone] may have overstepped one or more NPS regulations."

The investigation alleges Milestone misused deferred maintenance project funds, disregarded cultural compliance process rules and other requirements for a trail project.

Milestone also stands accused of gender discrimination and sexual harassment and misusing his government-owned vehicle.

Thirteen employees provided testimony of instances where Milestone made inappropriate comments based on gender.

And the investigation shows that Milestone lacked candor when he denied the misuse of his government-owned vehicle.

The report states that Milestone routinely violated various Federal Regulations and National Parks Service (NPS) policies and demonstrated questionable leadership practices during his tenure as superintendent.

He reportedly admitted soliciting and collecting donations for the FOW as well as asking his subordinates and park concessionaire to do the same, which is a violation of NPS policy.

And Milestone allegedly violated ethics regulations when he inappropriately offered lodging accommodations to the FOW for fundraising events.

The investigation showed that those employees and park concessionaire told Milestone at the time that asking them to be involved was improper.

Action News Now spoke with Jim Milestone’s wife and she said Milestone was unavailable and that he had to speak to his lawyer before he could comment on the matter.

National Parks Service spokesman Andrew Munoz said in an email, “The NPS is committed to creating a more accountable and responsible culture at all levels of the organization to ensure that our employees meet the highest standards of ethical public service. The OIG found that Jim Milestone, superintendent at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, routinely violated federal regulations and NPS policies. Milestone is currently in a non-supervisory temporary assignment outside the park while the agency weighs appropriate actions in response to the OIG’s findings.”

Milestone was reassigned by the National Parks Service in September 2017.

You can click here to read the full report.

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