USVEI out in Ramada deal

The organization that announced plans at the Ramada Altoona Conference in January for a multi-faceted operation to benefit veterans – plans that included transforming the hotel into a dorm for a deployment force – no longer has access to the property.

The Ramada property – which hasn’t been functioning as a hotel since shortly after the news conference – is being remodeled by another organization that announced this week the complex will become a hotel again.

The U.S. Veterans Educational Institute also lost its rights to the former Bon Secours Holy Family Hospital property when it was unable to exercise a purchase option in March and was evicted from its headquarters building for chronic late payment of rent in April.

Clarion University, which had been USVEI’s partner for an educational program, backed out in March.

Asked about the latest development, USVEI Chairman Dennis Butts said “no comment.”

Butts also had no comment when asked about plans the Mirror has obtained for locating the complex at an industrial park in the area.

Butts, as the incorporator, created a new organization in March called the USVEI Learning Center Inc., whose address was the same as that of the Ramada, according to the state Corporation Bureau.

Butts’s initiatives were to include a free live-in school for veterans for college-level learning at the former hospital campus, a lab there to develop and patent innovative technologies to support the school, a backup data center there for critical Washington, D.C., agency information, the deployment group of former special forces personnel to protect and rescue corporate executives in troubled areas of the world, a domestic search and rescue team, a program for putting homeless female veterans to work building houses for themselves and more.

Mirror Reporter Bill Kibler is at 949-7038.