A veteran who entrusted his military file to a former Valley Veterans Service Center employee in Hamilton who was later arrested for allegedly threatening the U.S. president said his records have disappeared.
Barry Adams, who left the U.S. Navy in 1966 to create the Rainbow Family of Living Light, said his file ran 200 pages long.
It included his psychological evaluations and military records, among other things, needed to claim benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“My file has disappeared and no one has a real concern about it except me,” said Adams. “It has disappeared, and I’ve tried to trace it.”
Adams’ records were included among 200 files removed last April from the Valley Veterans Service Center by former employee Dan Rachell.
Rachell was arrested for allegedly threatening President Barack Obama and the first family, though he was later found not guilty. Just before his arrest, he removed files from the center under what he said was the advice of the VA.
“I was given explicit instructions by the VA center at Fort Harrison that those files were mine because those veterans had given me power of attorney,” Rachell said Friday. “I wasn't forced to return them, but my lawyer thought it was in the best interest of the (veterans) to do so.”
Rachell said he gave the files to his parole officer, who returned them to the Hamilton center. At the time, the center’s chairman, Bill Jette, confirmed receiving the files from the officer.
Rachell said Adams’ records were included with the 200 files delivered by his parole officer to the center.
“His was the first one in alphabetical order, and every time I’d pick them up and go through them, his file was there on top,” Rachell said. “My probation officer came by, picked them up, and took them back to the center. He called me and told me he dropped them off.”
Adams said he realized his file was gone roughly three weeks ago when he asked to view it at the center.
Those employed at the center last year have been replaced by new personnel. The new staff has never seen Adams’ file.
“I went through the files personally and it’s not here,” said Mike Warner, who started with the center this month. “There was a record at one time, but the last time it was viewed was before 2012. It’s a long time frame.”
After the scandal broke at the center last year and the records were returned, Warner said some veterans came and retrieved their records. At the time, the former staff didn’t keep track of what records left the building.
“There’s no record of who picked up their records,” Warner said. “During that time, this office didn’t have anyone manning it or directing it. I was hired in March by the county to build a functioning veteran service office.”
In his efforts to trace his file, Adams contacted Rachell, along with the VA. He also contacted the attorneys in the original case against Rachell.
So far, he hasn’t had any luck.
“I’ve been trying to find the chain of custody of who had their hands on my file,” Adams said. “I’ve been stonewalled. No one will tell me what happened to it.”
Adams, a medical marijuana advocate who claims to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, believes someone has kept his file as a political vendetta.
After leaving the service in 1966, he went on to start the Rainbow Family to advocate for peace. The organization has since evolved and, at times, it has found itself at odds with the U.S. Forest Service and local law enforcement agencies.
“My theory here, the reason my file is missing is because somewhere along the line the police got ahold of it,” Adams said. “The reason I think it’s a police officer is because the center said it got the files back from the police officer.”
Adams has grown frustrated in his search.
“I’m not out to get anybody,” he said. “All I want is my file. What the hell is happening here?”