VA barely makes subpoena deadline on Aurora Hospital project

The Greenwood Villager

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Washington, DC, October 5, 2016 | comments

The Department of Veterans Affairs made its required report after the close of business on the deadline day in relation to its Aurora hospital project, though its status is unclear.

“As of now, we have not determined if this CD complies with [the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee] issued subpoena,” U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s congressional office said in an email.

The VA had been subpoenaed for the thousands of pages of supporting documentation detailing the Aurora VA hospital construction project’s delays and cost overruns, which are now estimated to exceed $1 billion.

The subpoena issued Sept. 7 legally required the VA to hand over all of the Administrative Investigation Board’s supporting documentation. The deadline to comply with the subpoena was Sept. 28.

Failure to comply with a congressional subpoena can result in federal court proceedings to enforce compliance or even a vote to hold the secretary in contempt.

When construction began on the Aurora VA hospital project in August 2009, the VA estimated the facility cost at just under $583 million with a February 2014 completion date. The project has since spiraled to cost $1.67 billion and is now estimated to be completed in early 2018.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers took over the construction management of the project from the VA last year and legislation has passed that permanently strips the VA of their construction management authority to build hospitals.

In March 2015, the VA appointed the Administrative Investigation Board to conduct the investigation into the cost overruns and delays.

In March, nearly a year after it was initially promised for delivery, the VA delivered a memorandum summarizing the VA’s AIB findings to HVAC Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., but the VA did not release the thousands of pages of supporting documentation accompanying the memorandum.

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