The Washington Post’s In the Loop blog noted today that the GSA had cancelled an upcoming conference in Las Vegas as part of the fallout from the embarrassing revelations of a lavish (has that word been overused yet?) conference in 2010 that was highlighted in an auditor’s report and ultimately led to the firing of eight GSA officials and the resignation of GSA head Martha N. Johnson. In the Loop notes that this recently cancelled conference “… would have been a lot less splashy, since the venue — the relatively modest Hampton Inn Tropicana — can’t hold a candle to the luxe M Resort Spa Casino, where the 2010 shenanigans went down.”
However, a search of the GSA website reveals the quiet cancellation of another GSA conference that was to be held at the same M Resort Spa Casino as the infamous Clown-and-Mind-Reading conference. The short description that the Google search finds says the conference was to be held “Wednesday, September 5, 2012 – Thursday, September 6, 2012 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. The M Resort 12300 Las Vegas Boulevard South Henderson, NV 89044.” But clicking on the link brings up a page that begins “We apologize for the inconvenience… The link or location you used does not exist or has changed.” However, there is a Google cache version of the original page. The event was to be called “Opening Doors NEVADA.” A further search revealed the existence of a separate website for the conference. However, clicking on the registration link brings up a page with the following message: “We are sorry to announce the cancellation of our GSA Opening Doors 2012-2013 small business conference series in the Pacific Rim Region.” No reason is given for the cancellation.
It is quite likely the GSA is hoping the attention it has attracted lately will begin to subside, but so far that has not happened, and is not likely to before the Congressional hearing on April 16th. It will be interesting to see if the cancelled Open Doors Neveda conference comes up at the hearing. And although the GSA may feel differently, it might also be interesting to find out if another GSA conference held in Las Vegas in 2010 (July) was anything like the October conference. The 21st Annual Child Care Conference of the GSA was held at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas July 13-15, 2010. Is it possible lightning struck twice that year? Only time (and perhaps YouTube) will tell.
Also posted at Speak With Authority