There's growing pressure on the Texas General Land Office after its chief investment officer made remarks that many veterans say dishonors their sacrifice.
There are growing calls for the resignation of the General Land Office's chief investment officer, Rusty Martin.
During an Oct. 28 Veterans Land Board meeting to discuss funding, Martin referred to veteran cemeteries as money-losing programs and stated that he saw no reason to invest in them.
"Putting any kind of money into money-losing programs, I just don’t think that’s good business sense," said Martin. "That's not the way I was trained, that doesn’t make sense to me."
The comment prompted an immediate response from the deputy director of the veteran cemetery program.
"Every person in this room, a veteran would lay down their life for you. So, be careful in your choice of words,” said Eric Brown, former deputy director of the State Veterans Cemetery Program.
Brown has since resigned and now the American Legion is officially calling for Martin’s resignation or removal.
"The disrespect that he has shown the veterans in the state of Texas and especially, all over the country," said Bret Watson, Texas state commander for American Legion. "These veterans, they put their lives on the line every day. They volunteered and a lot of the veterans that are dying of and everything, they were drafted.”
It is an act that Brown is happy to see.
"I applaud the American Legion's actions," said Brown. "There are several other organizations that have also contacted me to say that the actions by Mr. Martin go against their core values. So, I forward to other veteran’s organizations stepping up.”
According to a letter to the state legislature from GLO Commissioner George P. Bush, Martin has been relieved of his duties pertaining to the operations of the VLB. However, the American Legion says that’s not enough and they want him gone.
"We need to stand together as veterans and we need to for the resignation of Mr. Martin,” said Watson.
Martin is still employed at the GLO but no longer with the Veterans Land Board. The Texas General Land Office said it remains committed to ensuring that Texas veterans receive the benefits they deserve.