Missing: Three Baby Pianos

How does a baby grand piano go missing? Er, maybe someone stuck it in the closet. … No? The janitor must have thrown it out with the trash…

How do you misplace a $10,000 incinerator or three baby grand pianos, asks Kathryn Wilson with Virginia Watchdog. Virginia State University managed to do so, along with sculptures, laptops, lawnmowers, copiers and a tractor. A request under the Freedom of Information Act identified $8 million in taxpayer-funded fixed assets that had gone lost, missing or stolen across the commonwealth. And that’s probably incomplete, writes Wilson, because the state has no complete database of its assets, much less a database of missing assets.

“Once again, it seems that as long as the bureaucrats are dealing with other peoples’ money, it gets virtually no attention,” Tim Wise, president of the Arlington County Taxpayers Association, told Watchdog.org.


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13 responses to “Missing: Three Baby Pianos”

  1. Jesus H. Keeeerist Bacon.. can you never get off the anti-govt kick?

    ALL businesses AND govt have assets that are not all accounted for – that’s NORMAL.

    things get stolen. Furniture and pianos get broke and hauled to dump without paperwork to show their disposition (and if that’s NOT bureaucracy what IS?).

    the problem with these fools is they are basically on a mission – not to prove that all institutions have issues like this – public and private – but that govt is the culprit of all money wasted and squandered.

    I say – ” get a frigging life”.


    next time folks visit the doctor or some place that has a computer – stroll over and take a look at it. Nine times out of 10 it will have a bar code on it – and you know what? once a year, some poor smuck goes around with a gun-type scanner and points at that bar code when then “accounts” for that device and it’s location.

    you’ll see this at govt and private institutions usually.

    Is the Chair that the clerk is sitting in “accounted” for with a bar code?

    probably not… so what happens when it breaks and gets put in the dumpster?

    then it becomes “lost or stolen”??? give me a break….

    A POX on the anti-govt idiots… enough!

  2. reed fawell III Avatar
    reed fawell III

    This sad result becomes the norm. It’s to be expected when those “in control” have no financial stake in the “lost” property, and cannot be fired from the exercise of their control, however irresponsible. (removal takes years then becomes impossible given that the incompetence over time inflects the entire organization.)

    So these twin realities work to built within the organization a sense of invulnerability and “who care’s” toward job performance or accountability for it. Thus corruption of responsibility grows. And grows. And grows.

    It’s everywhere now apparently, pervasive throughout. From lost $10,000 incinerators to lost three baby grand pianos to poor folks who (being unable to buy one cell phone) are now walking around with 13 free cell phones. And all 13 are compliments of Uncle Sam (Us) until they’d bartered for crack, and replaced by yet another 13 free phones, only to be bartered again. But you can’t blame the addict. Only the system that feeds the habit. And does it year after year in the name of serving the public good.

    We’re coming to the point of drowning in all this.

  3. Darrell Avatar

    Pianos? I think I saw them on one of the governments auction web sites some time back. Course, there’s so much stuff being auctioned I can’t say for sure it was OUR government or someone elses. Most of the stuff is only something a junk man would be interested in.

    1. reed fawell III Avatar
      reed fawell III

      Ya mean you missed the US nuclear sub on E-bay!

      1. Darrell Avatar

        I saw that. A sale photo was taken on commissioning day. The fine print description clearly stated that hatches, screws, the reactor and other parts might be missing. That the seller would offer no assistance loading the item on the buyer’s ocean barge. And all items must be personally removed within ten days of the auction’s close. The top bidder was some clown named JosecanyouSI, but they never broke the reserve price.

        A quick Google search found the same item at another auction, with what was described as a ‘heavily rusted gas burner’ sitting on the sub’s deck.

        1. reed fawell III Avatar
          reed fawell III

          I betcha anything that there was a $10,000 incinerator and three baby grand pianos stashed below decks.

    2. reed fawell III Avatar
      reed fawell III

      And has the Va. Department of Education ever reported back on where all those thousands of non-teacher school employees went to? Hell, that department has misplaced tens of thousands of human beings. All of whom were earlier reported by the department to be their own employees.

      1. The DOE is reported not on State employees but on locally-employed employees for each jurisdiction – which means in your own jurisdiction, you can actually find out what the “split” is.

        I’ve done it for mine and here’s the deal. There takes a whale of a lot of people to support the function of instruction. From the person who drives a bus, to the nurse who save a child’s life to the custodian that keeps the classroom clean and safe to the person who cooks and serves food to the guy who repairs the HVAC to the lady who makes sure the internet is working to the guy who makes sure people get their paychecks, on and on…

        if this were really a legitimate exercise – it would actually categorize the non-instructional personnel so that:

        1. – we could compare (which JLARC in Va DOES DO)

        2. – you could see for yourself and then be free to make your argument, for instance, that kids should eat out of vending machines instead of getting a hot lunch or we should get rid of school buses and let each parent bring their kids to all kinds of dumb-as-a-stump ideas which people evade when they cowardly attack the generic “non-teaching”, “extra” non-essential personnel…

        this whole line of “reasoning” is not .. .just more ant-govt, anti-teacher, “anti” blather…

        don’t get me wrong. I’m ALL FOR and INTELLIGENT and INFORMED discussion of what we need to be paying for – and not – and how much is reasonable or not but the approach taken these days.. is just bomb-throwing belch.

      2. reed fawell III Avatar
        reed fawell III

        So Jim, to return to the point – have we ever gotten an intelligible reply from the state board of education as to accuracy of their original report that showed a dramatic increase of non-teaching personal at the apparent expense of the number of teachers per student and/or their compensation?

        1. since no one has bothered to delve into the facts – I’ll do it – for Henrico:

          Instruction: – 357,512,367
          Administration, Health – 13,633,247
          Transportation – 26,911,493
          Operation and Maintenance – 44,088,119
          Food Services and other non-instruction – 18,208,072

          you’ll find similar numbers across Virginia if you download the
          2012 JLARC ” Comparative Report of Local Government” at

          now if you look at these numbers with any kind of intelligence at all – you’ll see clearly that there is a problem with the head count data and I’ll point out than any “study” that actually seeks to do an authoritative analysis – would look at BOTH the head count AND the financial data – to verify that the head count data is reasonable.

          of course, studies that are careless and not careful.. will just grab whatever data they want and not really “truth” test it to make sure it is reasonable and we seem to have a whole hell of a lot of that kind of “analysis” these days from people who purport to be “academics” but often, not surprisingly, with agendas.

  4. the thing of it is – keeping track of “assets” not only in govt but in the private sector as BOTH do buy and maintain assets and BOTH do have expend time, effort, and money in keeping track of them.

    and in reality – BOTH have issues that basically boil down to how much time and money they will spend on keeping track verses how much is “too much” and not very cost effective.

    I’m quite sure that if a story was published that the govt was keeping track of it’s pencil inventory that it would go viral – for good reason – but let them overlook a piano or a toilet seat and out come the anti-govt boo birds.

    I’m not excusing it . I’m just saying it’s a familiar refrain that pretends that the private sector has no such issues either – and the entire motivation behind it is to “prove” that govt is clumsy, inefficient, wasteful, stupid,….. just plain bad…

    of course when something like this happens: ” Breakaway Oil Rig, Filled With Fuel, Runs Aground”… it’s NOT because the private sector is stupid, inefficient, bureaucratic, and wasteful, etc.. nope… it was an Act of God or some such because the private sector unlike the govt just does not do bad things like the govt does.

  5. DJRippert Avatar


    I would love to hear Mr. Wise’s views on the rebuilding of W&L High School in his hometown of Arlington, Va. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    Seriously, if you know Tim Wise – maybe let him write a guest column on that high school. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. I can’t even guess how much it cost.

    A few baby grand pianos are pocket change compares to that modern day Taj Mahal.

  6. Richard Avatar

    Let’s get those watchdogs on Cuccinelli and the General Assembly. Then they’ll identify some big time government waste!

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