DENVER — Federal investigators say "gross mismanagement," delays and lax oversight by the Department of Veterans Affairs added hundreds of millions of dollars to the cost of a new Denver-area VA hospital and delayed it by years.
A report from the department's internal watchdog released Wednesday also said a former senior VA official, Glenn Haggstrom, knew the project was veering toward huge cost overruns but didn't tell lawmakers that when he testified before Congress in 2013 and 2014.
No phone number could be found for Haggstrom. He retired in 2015.
The report by the VA inspector general repeats some conclusions from earlier investigations but is the most scathing account of the project to date.
The hospital under construction in suburban Denver is expected to cost nearly $1.7 billion, nearly triple the 2014 estimate.
The VA issued the following statement regarding the report Wednesday afternoon:
“VA has owned the mistakes that were made throughout this project,” said Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson. “We did not wait for this report or others like it before implementing significant changes in policy and management in order to get this project back on track.”
Another spokesman, Paul Sherbo, said the VA is using the report to “improve the way [it does] business” to “ensure that previous challenges are not repeated.”
The Colorado Republican Party also issued a statement reacting to the report:
“Today’s IG report is a searing indictment of the competency and honesty of officials responsible for the construction of the Aurora VA,” Colorado GOP Chairman Steve House said in the statement. “The officials named in the IG report who perpetrated this travesty need to be held accountable, period.”