House votes to subpoena documents about cost of Aurora VA hospital

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WASHINGTON — The House Veterans Affairs Committee voted Wednesday to subpoena thousands of pages of documents from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

It’s an effort to explain how the cost of building the VA hospital in Aurora is more than $1 billion over budget and still isn’t finished.

“[The] subpoena follows a long history of corruption and bureaucratic incompetence at the VA,” Rep. Mike Coffman, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said in a statement released Wednesday.

When construction began in 2009, the VA estimated the project would cost about $580 million and would be completed by February 2014.

The cost has spiraled to more than 1.6 billion and it is estimated to be completed in early 2018. The Army Corps of Engineers has taken over construction.

“Despite VA’s failures, no official was fired or disciplined for actions that sent the Aurora VA project into an over-budget and behind-schedule debacle,” Coffman said.

Coffman’s office discovered a pharmacy tech was never fired for stealing and attempting to use drugs while at work.

The subpoena will require the VA to hand over documents related to its own internal investigation, Coffman said.

The subpoena also seeks documents related to millions of dollars spent on artwork and ornamental furnishings at VA offices across the country, the Washington Examiner reported Wednesday.

“Veterans and the American people deserve answers on what drove over $1 billion in cost overruns and years of delay in its completion,” Coffman said.

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