No responsibility for VA hospital billion dollar boondoggle

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DENVER --  Veterans Affairs continues to investigate what caused the VA Aurora Hospital to cost taxpayers more than one billion dollars than originally estimated, but FOX31 Denver is learning no employee has been suspended or fired because of the mismanagement.

Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson came to Aurora Thursday to continue talks with project contractors Kewitt-Turner and took time to answer questions by FOX31 Denver about any disciplinary action against employees who managed the project.

Gibson told Tak Landrock that the main project manager, Glenn Haggstrom, was part of an ongoing VA investigation into the cost overruns that will eventually cost taxpayers $1.7 billion. He said a day after Haggstrom gave his testimony under oath, he retired and will be able to get his full benefits package.

“I think we all need to remember the law allows federal employees to retire, when they are eligible to retire,” Gibson said.

Because Haggstrom retired, he won’t face any disciplinary action and will be able to keep his $64,000 in bonuses.

Gibson was asked where any other employee who managed the project could face disciplinary action and he said, “I can’t take disciplinary action against any employee without evidence that will not stand an appeal.”

Sources tell FOX31 Denver that so far no one has been suspended, fired or even given a slap on the wrist for the billion dollar boondoggle.

Gibson apologized again to taxpayers and veterans for the failures of his department.

Congress still needs to approve giving Veterans Affairs an extra $830 million to complete the project that is only half-way built. Gibson said he was dedicated to getting the project completed by 2017.