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Jim Brown

Jim Brown

INDIANAPOLIS — The director of the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs is resigning amid questions about his management of a state fund that provides one-time emergency cash grants of up to $2,500 to former active duty servicemembers.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Friday that he has accepted Jim Brown's request to quit his post at the state veterans agency, effective Dec. 28.

In recent weeks, veterans advocates have highlighted state records showing Brown promptly approved at least 11 distributions from the Military Family Relief Fund to agency employees, while claiming other Hoosier veterans in need waited weeks or months for assistance.

Brown insisted in news reports that agency employees who served in the military were as entitled to emergency grants as any other veteran.

Their applications for assistance only got speedier approval because he already was familiar with their financial circumstances, he said.

Holcomb did not acknowledge the Military Family Relief Fund issue in his statement about Brown's departure, and the governor's office declined to release a copy of Brown's resignation letter.

Brown is a decorated U.S. Army and Indiana National Guard veteran who was appointed in 2013 by Republican former Gov. Mike Pence to serve as Indiana's director of veterans affairs.

"Sgt. Maj. Brown is a good man with a distinguished service record," Holcomb said. "I am grateful for his longstanding service to our state and country."

The State Board of Accounts in coming weeks is expected to issue a comprehensive financial audit of the state veterans agency.

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Statehouse Bureau Chief

Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.