Press Releases

Coffman, Rice Call for Criminal Investigation of Aurora VA Hospital Construction

American taxpayers and Congress still seeking answers on how this $600 million project will now cost $1.73 billion

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Washington, April 7, 2016 | Coleman Lamb ((202) 225-5516) | comments
Today, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO), Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice (D-NY), a member of the subcommittee, called upon the Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Accountability Review and the Office of the Inspector General to make appropriate criminal referrals to law enforcement in regards to the Aurora VA hospital construction project.

On March 26, 2016, the VA’s Administrative Investigation Board (AIB) released a summary memorandum to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of its findings from its examination of the Aurora VA hospital construction project. This report was released to the committee nearly a year after its completion and still unavailable to American taxpayers. The summary alleges that all VA officials with responsibility for the project’s mismanagement and cost overruns have since retired or left the VA. Some of these officials collected generous performance bonuses while the project was imploding and some are now receiving full federal pensions despite being deemed responsible for this construction debacle.

Coffman and Rice are calling for a review of the AIB report, other independent investigations, and any knowingly inaccurate testimony made by VA officials during congressional hearings to determine if criminal referrals are necessary and appropriate.

“The American taxpayers deserve answers. The mismanagement and cost overruns of the Aurora VA hospital are outrageous. At the least, I believe that a number of these VA employees knowingly lied to my subcommittee and other congressional committees about the project’s problems,” Coffman said. “I expect the Veterans Affairs Office of Accountability Review and the Office of the Inspector General to do their job and see if any of these VA officials committed criminal acts as the cost skyrocketed from $604 million to $1.73 billion.”

“As a former prosecutor, this project has struck me since day one as a case that’s ripe for criminal review, given the outrageous scope of the cost overruns and the VA’s repeated refusal to provide our subcommittee with details about what caused them and who is responsible,” said Representative Kathleen Rice, the former District Attorney of Nassau County, NY. “Now that the VA has finally given us a summary of the AIB report and announced that they intend to take no additional actions as a result of the investigation, we still have yet to see anyone be held truly accountable for the actions and decisions that caused this project to more than double in cost. We still don’t know whether this was a case of incompetence and mismanagement, wasteful spending or theft – but regardless, it cannot be swept under the rug. If the VA has uncovered any evidence of criminal activity in the course of this investigation, that information must be swiftly turned over to relevant law enforcement officials so that we can finally get some answers and American veterans and taxpayers can finally get the accountability they deserve.”
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Tags: Veterans