Promote Immediately! VA Manager Stella Fiotes Promoted Despite ‘Mismanagement’ Of Aurora VA Hospital Construction, Running Up Bill From $800 Million To $1.7 Billion
The VA manager Stella Fiotes whose performance is linked to overbilling of the Aurora VA hospital by almost $1 billion beyond budget was just promoted, and Congress is mad.
“Escalating costs and schedule slippages are primarily the result of poor business decisions, inexperience with the type of contract used and mismanagement by VA senior leaders,” noted investigators with the VA Office of Inspector General.
That is what VA OIG had to say about the project.
Fiotes was chief of Construction and Facilities Management. She has now been promoted on the heels of numerous construction failures including Aurora VA. That project was almost $1 billion over budget and years late with multiple lawsuits arising from poor practices between government contractors and VA official.
RELATED: Sticker Shock From VA Tech Contract Worth $22 Billion
Congressman Mike Coffman, R-Colo, is mad about the promotion and wants answers.
Of course, these kinds of inquiries always amount to hot air and VA senior leadership almost always get promoted or are allowed to retire, creating a “heads I win, tails you lose” risk-taking scheme that always leaves taxpayers holding the bag.
RELATED: Sky Is Falling, VA Needs More Money, Veterans’ Lives At Risk Otherwise
Coffman believes Fiotes materially misled Congress about the facility’s lack of progress.
Mike Coffman On Stella Fiotes Promotion
“Ms. Fiotes testified to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in March 2014 that the medical center’s design could be built within its appropriated amount, then $800 million, which all available evidence indicates was untrue,” wrote Coffman.
Its price tag now is about $1.7 billion – a difference that led Coffman to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Fiotes for perjury. (The agency declined to prosecute).
“I urge you to appoint a permanent principal executive director of the Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction who is well qualified and untainted by scandal as quickly as possible,” Coffman wrote.
What do you think will happen when DOJ refuses to prosecute, VA refuses to fire, Congress continues to blow hot air, and American taxpayers continue to be fleeced.
Here is what I think. VA needs to get out of the construction business. If the development process was totally outsourced, government contractors can be sued for overbilling or underperforming on contracts through the False Claims Act or similar legal theories.
As it stands now, no one will be truly held accountable. In fact, they will get promoted and once they retire, they will get massive jobs as lobbyists back to the agency they once helped fleece.
- Ex-VA chief says he wasn’t told about Colorado hospital’s ballooning costs
- No prosecution in over-budget Aurora veterans hospital
- Dozens of surgeries at Denver VA hospital put off because of doctor shortage
- VA warned repeatedly about cost overruns of $1.7 billion Aurora hospital
- Trump administration to exempt VA hospital in Aurora from federal hiring freeze
- Wait times at Colorado VA facilities among worst in the nation, new data show
- VA secretary promises completion of Aurora medical center in 2018
What I absolutely don’t understand is why, as a veteran, with certainly more skills than many of the executives that seem to populate the VA, is it so darn hard to get hired into the VA?? They clearly need better candidates, who have a degree of integrity and capability, and yet I have never even received a response to any job for which I’ve applied.
And then to read things like this — it simply makes my blood boil.
Ya know guys, I’ve been hanging around this website for a couple years now and learning about what’s really going on with the corruption inside the VA and have learned a lot that HAS helped me. BUT. As far as I see it nothing has come from our bitching, griping and complaining among ourselves. I’ve finally accepted that if anything is going to be done to right the wrongs with the VA and congress to do shit about this hopeless situation that we’re against is totally hopeless in my lifetime of what’s left. So. I’m going to draw in all my feelers and continue on with what I have left to fight the VA system to get what is still owed to me which ain’t much. Good luck to you all and may god (or whom ever is in charge or ending suffering). Bless you all and keep fighting. Bill.
@Bill- Don’t give-into hopelessness. Yes, the VA is much bigger than any of us but…there’s no ‘you’, ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘them’…with us Veterans. It is WE, all of US that are ultimately affected by the VA’s refusal to follow the law and own directives. What I’m saying is as long as -1- Veteran is negatively affected by the VA’s ineptitude or malfeasant actions, we ALL are affected.
I highly recommend the veteran site had it dot com, to find everything and anything to help yourself with knowledge in fighting the good fight.
Do as you may, as you will, as any Veteran will, but know we have your back. Always! Sometimes bitching is all we have and it’s a tad cathartic, if anything.
Peace and may you have a great 2018.
Never give up! It ain’t in our DNA! IF you give up, they win! Do you really want anyone in the VA to say; “See, you vets don’t know how to win!” “You’ve been losing since Vietnam, and ain’t learned how to win!”
Get pissed! Make those SOB’s sorry they ever met us vets!
@Bill, sure we gripe a bit here, it helps decompress, we also share ideas, and what has worked for us. As namnibor has said, it is WE, we are all in the same family, WE are all soldiers, giving up is not in our DNA, we keep fighting,
Each of the Veterans here I feel a connection with, and enjoy reading everyones points of view, I hope you aren’t thinking of leaving. If all else fails, we can try to band together, and bring down on DC a crowd the likes that have never been seen before. I realize not all Veterans can attend such an event due to their disabilities, but those of us that are able should. How? I don’t have a damn clue, I have tried contacting those sources that have succeeded, in organizing massive marches, but none have returned any emails or phone calls. I guess they don’t give a shit about us either, so it is up to us to do this for us all.
There are some pretty smart cookies on this Blog, if interested, I have copied every bit of information that those that have helped organize these events in the past, have left in comments as to the particulars of what is involved. Unfortunately I don’t have the capacity to do this on my own, I would forget to many things to be effective. I don’t know why it is, Veterans can’t organize these things together for the good of all Veterans, especially the over 22 a day that need us the most. I would gladly work with anyone to accomplish such an event.
As I already said, I can’t do it alone. I feel your frustration, believe me I do, I also believe we can do this if we put our minds together. I don’t post much anymore either, I don’t like sounding like a broken damn record, so I pretty much stay in the background these days. There is a way to stay in touch with each other, to organize such events without prying eyes. Some of us already use an app called the wire app, it is a secure point to point, encrypted messaging app. Anyway, I hope you don’t decide to go anywhere, you have kinda grown on us, ya know?
It was 1.3b over, supposed to cost 4m.
Another unnecessary hospital where veterans are trapped in a closed system of prison medicine, no choice, no voice etc. Privatize VHA .
Follow the money. Big numbers on big projects attract attention. Bigger numbers attract more attention. I can hear the performance review now, “… this project was fraught with delays and design changes and permitting requirements, ….blah effin blah…., and yet I managed complete this project in spite of the obstacles – I deserve a bonus”.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen this happen in the private sector. Old school butt kicker project manage finishes his deals on or ahead of time and under budget, and he gets a pat on the back and a fucking turkey. The Harvard boy shows up, his projects are late, and have endless cost over-runs, and somehow the guy gets massive bonuses.
The New Amerikan Way
Did you hear that iphone X now has face recognition down so pat that banking places accept it like fingerprint recognition? Furthermore the software is so good at detecting human emotion that you can program it to display as an emoticon just how you are feeling at the moment. So if you are chatting and frown, then the emoticon will frown so long as the camera can see you.
Dispensing with the enormous volume of doubt I have in directing mankinds energy towards developing toys that can read our emotions and respond to them, let me instead delve into a potentially positive aspect of such a horrifically fucked up technological thing to do with a handheld and addictive device.
Let’s get Apple to input the facial vectors for deception and when you point the camera at somebody that is lieing then a special deception emoticon can pop up for you. I am thinking a cute animated bull lofting his tail high and according to the intensity of the deception recorded thusly the pile produced would grow from smaller to larger. Think about it!
There is of course a serious flaw with my plan. It seems like all plans hatched under the influence of good hash oil quickly lose coherence like that after I stop giggling…
It occurs to me that the iPad X has not yet been released and only the new and smaller iPhone X can do this. The problem of course is that an iPhone screen is too small to display the needed pile with a person like this VA lady Ben features today.
We might even need virtual reality goggles for this one. In return for doing this for The People, I say we cut in Apple for just half of what this broad wasted for us. We could expand this idea to Congress too with the face deception recognition when our representatives speak publicly about fixing the VA but Apple has yet to release a Jumbotron sized device so it would be pointless.
Anyone got Apple’s phone number?
Dennis, I prefer my emoticon to be a monkey flinging poo.
That way, the VA hack would either recognize it as deception or their family.
Mine happens to be a *flying* monkey flinging poo with a crow circling monkey’s head.
Just wait until the VA places 360 facial recognition cameras within the VA Telemedicine Hyperbaric Chamber.
If a given Veteran is perceived as in a down or sarcastic mood the chamber fills with a little something to lift you up and melt your face off. (think VX Gas)
If a given Veteran is perceived as in too UP of a mood the chamber fills with Gasified Quaaludes(GQ). (really only gabapentin, gaseous)
These facial recognition algorithms the VA will use will never take into account facial swelling from medical issues and the VA will only focus on the iris’s within veteran eyes to seek-out ‘Replicants’ and decommission us…wait for it.
And she’s building a stairway to heaven…..
Maybe she was just a fall guy for the real culprits and this is the payback.
just another “Fucking up, Moving Up” case! (Signature of the DoD/ VA Gang- especially when they are dealing with veterans/retirees money and benefits)
Doesn’t surprise me at all!
And “Congress is upset?” (SIC)
What they are doing about it?
Benjamin, thanks for covering and tracking the VA like a rabid wolverine. This daily investigative reporting on VA scandal is my daily number one place to go number two first thing in morning. (that’s making lemons into lemonade in my world) 😀
Just shows Secretary Shulkin, is not doing his Job. Just Crazy !
Leave it to the VA to screw up an erection. And pay too much for it, too.
Did you know that both houses of Congress CAN arrest perpetrators found guilty of “Contempt of Congress!”
Yep, that’s true!
A “contempt charge” can include: Lying to congressional committees, lying to Congress, Refusal to answer a legitimate question, Refusal to comply, etc., etc., etc.!
The next question would be: “How can Congress, either house, arrest someone?”
Simply put, it’s accomplished by having the “Sgt. at Arms” perform his “Duties”!
As soon as one is found GUILTY, the Sgt. at Arms is then responsible for arresting, then jailing the person! That’s the short version!
I found out about this by googling the following phrase:
“What’s the duties of the Congressional Sgt. at Arms?!
“Can the Sgt. at Arms arrest persons who’ve been found guilty of contempt of Congress?”
There’s also a video out from “The Still Report”
“Devin Nunes FBI and DOJ Need Investigation, 1923”
Dated: 3 Dec 2017
Run time is around 6 1/2 minutes long!
Which explains what the Sgt. at Arms can do, from a Supreme Court decision [c. 1821]!
It’s well worth the viewing. And it’s time for Congress to stop many government agencies from wasting taxpayers monies. It’s also time for Congress to hold Shulkin and MANY others in VA accountable for committing [illegal] fraud, waste and abuse!
It’s time for VA’s healthcare side to be completely SHUT DOWN! It’s also time for the AFGE to be SHUT DOWN. And MANY of their members to be arrested and prosecuted for the criminal activities they perform against American Taxpaying Citizens and Veterans!
Rant out for NOW! (MAYBE!)
opensecrets.org great way to track congressional campaign money by industry by individual
committee. Best congress money can buy.
So this is the dumb-assed bitch that in all her wisdom, forgot to take into account…parking lots then the little oversight of…WHOOPS…we ALSO will be needing parking lot LIGHTS? (am assuming the employee parking was never an issue)
Is this the same dumb-assed bitch that did not have all the different contractors on the same page? (making her the least qualified to be a…leader)
This same dumb-assed bitch has just been promoted for being a dumb-assed bitch while Veterans die and VA continues to lie?
I hope this dumb-assed bitch gets pulled apart by a pack of coyotes in the parking lot and nobody stops to help but cheers the coyotes on.
VA Sec. Shulkin wants to take away TDIU to SAVE $$$$???? You .dumb-assed VA Secretary…you have ALL the TOOLS avail. to save the VA tons of $$$$ you old fucking tool!
A little strong? Perhaps. But I am sick and tired of the VA on one hand cannot manage their own budget as the egregious Aurora VAMC Black Hole displays, yet PROMOTES the dumb-ass bitch, REWARDING for dumb-ass behavior…and on other hand the VA wants to take away $$$ and benefits from Veterans.
I am SICK OF THE VA’s blatant poo-flinging at the American Taxpayer while pissing upon Veterans!
The AFGE MUST GO…rant out for now. (dumb-ass bitch is phrase for day)
The VA is beyond redemption beyond repair; The VA needs to go and private health care be instituted for all vets with physicians who are rated competent. But nothing will ever be done, because people just don’t care what happens to vets, they care more about taking care of illegal immigrants and keeping the minorities on welfare. Saddle up, men, fix bayonets. This boobecrat should be in one of the concrete foundations of this misguided project.
To really understand where we veterans stand, do a simple Google search on “Harambe”.
You’re speaking of the liberal’s adaptation of Donkey Kong where you get to play the dead gorilla that was shot…fling poo for extra points while dodging hot lead-filled bananas? 😀 😀
Pretty much nam. Dead vets, the media reports for a few days, congress harrumphs and sends a sternly worded letter, then everyone moves on after a few days.
A gorilla gets shot after a kid falls into his cage, world wide media coverage for weeks, wiki pages are created, and a year later, the media is still doing stories on it.
Kinda like TBI. A few NFL players commit suicide, less than 100 since 1920, there’s nationwide concern and money pouring into research. Meanwhile, 20000 vets are examined by hacks, the suicide rate is over 20 per day, and the organization whose sole purpose is to help those vets pours money into IT, Interior Designers and palaces in Denver, while maintaining a 5 star hotel in France.
No worries nam. I’m sure they are writing grant requests to some Obama era green energy program where they can get several million in free money to put up parking structures, solar panels and electric car charging stations.
Never mind that Private Pyle can’t get to the fucking door from his wheel chair adapted vehicle because his chair has been broken for months.
In my opinion,
There’s too many people in the VA getting rich[er] at the expense of the taxpayers and at the expense of veterans!
This didn’t just happen at the Aurora, Colorado’s VA hospital. It’s happening at every damn one of the VHA’s being built or refurbished!
Now, Shulkin wants to close down a bunch of the smaller buildings and buildings no longer considered to be viable or used!
I think we got a bunch of real “class A nincompoops” running a lot of government agencies! All they care about is “fattening their pockets!”
Grade A Tuna Beast at work!
With her promotion she will grow-into full manatee form-factor in no time and will not even require the MMJ munchies. A natural evolution of skank.
More like a potbelly pacman mixed with a swayed back, knock knee aardvark in a glow in the dark tu tu!
Let me see if I can get a grip on the known facts here.
1) A woman in a position of power at VA promised one thing and delivered another to The People.
2) This money over and beyond what she said she would spend for The People is a sum that represents unimaginable wealth to the vast majority of humans on this planet.
3) This dragons hoard of wealth that she spent on The Peoples behalf did not in fact get captured by the dwarves, orcs, or anyone else and it did not vaporize in dragon fire either. It got “transfered” from “The People” to “Somebody Else”. No magic except the click, click, click of the computer keyboard on her desk as it sent untold riches swiftly out into the world faster than a crow can fly.
4) Now this confident young spender of America’s cash has been promoted beyond all hope or reason by those in much higher positions of authority than even her. In some fashion those folks have been made to appreciate her efforts so very, very, much that they are willing to flout Congress and even POTUS himself to stand behind an almost legendary cash transfer specialist such as her.
Conclusion? hehe, this one is easy.
I conclude that this woman loved all that cash she spent for us and that the cash loves this woman. I see also that cash does not return the love The People have for their own money.
This is a spiritual belief; if you love something set free. If it comes back it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.
Yeah, the sternly worded letters to VA bureaucrats are getting old. At what point do they take real action?
I’m a little curious as to why I only hear Coffman complaining about this whole ripoff. Are the other members of the House VA Committee asleep?
I know the Senate VA committee is worthless, but where are the rest?
Its almost like they are letting Coffman take the hits for this. Did he do the heavy lifting to get contracts steered in the right direction? Or just get whatever blank checks the VA asked for?
As it is, I thought I read that the Army Corps of Engineers was taking over large VA construction projects.
Not that that doesn’t leave plenty of money to be wasted by Fiotes.
I also read an article about how the Corps of engineers was taking over. And I thought there was something said about how VA shouldn’t be in the construction industry as well!
I also remember an article out, a couple years ago [around 2015], where TWO HOSPITALS, built by civilian contractors in Texas, came in under budget and BEFORE completion date. And – Texas used the Aurora, Colorado VHA as an example of “What NOT to do!” When building a hospital! [I believe the two hospitals were built around the Dallas area, don’t quote me on it!]
Crazy Elf, if you search on “Army corps of engineers aurora” you can find a press release from Coffman announcing the ACE taking over the hospital project in December 2014.
…along with other articles including one describing the VA using the wrong contract method for the project.
Coffmans press release says the ACE only took over Aurora. I recall some news about them taking over all large projects, but I am not positive.
Crazy Elf, one of the articles returned using the search terms in my other comment is a report on what the ACE found wrong with the project when they took over.
1. No delegated authority to an onsite project manager. Sounds like DC. Start a massive project, dictate changes, then when the contractor explains what the change means, sit around in Denver waiting for someone in DC to pick up the phone so they can approve the massive cost increase the change involves. Given the time difference, there may have been 3-4 hours per day of actual productive work done.
2. No project discipline. Build a shithouse by committee, and over time it will become a billion dollar bidet because every time someone comes up with a good idea such as a padded seat, toilet paper fluffiness or color of the flush handle, the idea is accepted and dictated without regard to cost or schedule.
3. The last item in their report complains about inadequate staffing on a project this big. I don’t think inadequate staffing is as much a problem as having COMPETENT staffing. Having Large Marge in charge and things waiting on her approval while she is out getting her hair and nails done doesn’t help the process.
Let me also guess here that in SNOW COUNTRY USA, the VA made sure to plaster as many solar panels as the mountain foundations would support…but nobody could get on same page about the actual albatross gaggle of buildings? (with snow removal contracts for said solar panels)
Something tells me the first thing the VA built there was employee parking, tunnels to keep the fat warm before office chair supported with spring floors like NORAD/Cheyenne Mountain? 😀
I just don’t know what Rep. Coffman is waiting for or again, is the VA just a huge slush fund Uncle Sam shits in?
I’m sure in snow country, every one of those panels will be mounted flat.
And after a 3 year study, they will recommend the hiring of several panel sweepers to keep the snow off.
Disabled veterans are encouraged to apply.
I shit you not, there are solar panels all over the roof at the Grand Junction VA, and I believe all are mounted flat, or nearly so.
Ah…but not until there’s also a three year study to determine which type of brush/broom surface is compatible with solar panel surface, then maybe a concurrent 3 year study on whether broom handle should be aluminum or titanium…whichever freezes to a disabled veteran’s hands best wins contract.
So…this is how the Aurora VAMC Black Hole perpetuates it’s neverending cookie jar? Or is it really just fact all the contractors are stoned on the very best medical-grade weed the VA can buy them? 😀
The handles are key, as are the footwear (flip flops) Both would guarantee years of research funding to study why any injuries occurred, while the VA tells the vet they are the only ones reporting frostbite.
OSHA would be told VA is a galactic entity, so they have no jurisdiction.
Partly what is going on with Coffman is the fact that he is one of the Representatives in Congress facing Mid-Term Election Syndrome. He is up for re-election this year and had a bad year last year.
Many of the other Representatives in Congress are also facing the same Syndrome. No doubt the Money Pit in Aurora will be brought up during this election cycle. Especially if it does not open this year!
Also note that the VA is still feeling the sting of the Bill sponsored by Coffman called the Gulf War Health Research Reform Act of 2014 (H.R. 4261). Which hit the VA in one of it’s corrupted Rubber Stamp Committees.
Wikipedia description of the Bill:
The Gulf War Health Research Reform Act of 2014 (H.R. 4261) is a bill that would alter the relationship between the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses (RAC) and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The bill would make the RAC an independent organization within the VA, require that a majority of the RAC’s members be appointed by Congress instead of the VA, and state that the RAC can release its reports without needing prior approval from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
The RAC is responsible for investigating Gulf War syndrome, a chronic multisymptom disorder affecting returning military veterans and civilian workers of the Gulf War.
The bill was introduced into the United States House of Representatives during the 113th United States Congress.
In the year prior to the consideration of this bill, the VA and the RAC were at odds with one another. The VA replaced all but one of the members of the RAC, removed some of their supervisory tasks, tried to influence the board to decide that stress, rather than biology was the cause of Gulf War syndrome, and told the RAC that it could not publish reports without permission.
The RAC was originally created in 1997, after Congress decided that the VA’s research into the issue was flawed, and focused on psychological causes, while mostly ignoring biological ones.
The part that is egregious is that he is a Marine, once you have been indoctrinated, that core value should never be compromised ! These veterans need to turn in their DD 214 if they are not going to honor the creed, but play the part on Memorial Day, Veterans Day , Election Day!
What a Grade A fuckknock to disrespect fellow Marines past and present. (All vets included)
I was a Corpsman, I felt the pride of being in the presence of honorable men,
Honor is a spirit, presence, force that a DD214 will not be able to capture.
Never let a filthy fatbody civilian do you injustice!
CorpsmanUp, I think you gave me an idea for a protest of sorts.
Veterans should commit to mailing a copy of their DD214 to the White House, with copies to the House and Senate VA committees to arrive on July 4th. Include a letter stating they can have the real thing in a year if they don’t get their shit together and fix the VA.
Imagine the media reporting hundreds of letters being delivered to those committees.
Imagine the media coverage of vets gathering at their local VAs to burn copies of their DD214s on July 14th. Like the hippies did with their draft cards.
Hell, if nobody in government gives a shit about your DD214, what is it worth?
Great idea 91!
I would go as far as making hoodies with a DD-214 print on the back that shows a replica with Shulkins demographics on it with a discharge code ” Dishonorable ”
Duty station : FuckBoy Command
Awards: Tunabeast Vanguard award
Motto: Quack a lack, quack, quack
(VA equivalent “Dilly, Dilly”)
The problem is, if done on VA grounds, I’m sure some embarrassed bureaucrat would press for federal arson charges.
Rather than burning our DD214’s, how about we all arrive with flamethrowers and make world news and start over once the embers cool?
D.C. would have a cloud of burnt bacon rising that would encircle the globe like an Icelandic volcano.
Well, if a few flaming DD214s float away on the wind….
Who’s to say what could happen.
Coffman’s current Committee assignments include the following.
He is on the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Veterans’ Affairs Oversight and Investigations. Also he is on the Subcommittee on Veterans’ Affairs Economic Opportunity.
Also from Congressional records Coffman had this to say about the VA’s 5 Star Luxury Resort Hotel in Paris. Although his statements are deeply flawed and untrue. After extensively researching the Veterans Administration 5 Star Luxury Hotel in Paris. Rep Coffman misrepresented numerous fact about the Hotel.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS’ AFFAIRS, SUBCOMMITTEE ON HEALTH HOLDS A HEARING ON VETERANS’ AFFAIRS LEGISLATION
DECEMBER 8, 2015
“COFFMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman for holding this legislative hearing and including my legislation that would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to sell Pershing Hall, a five-star boutique, 24-room hotel, restaurant and club in the heart of Paris, France. What is today known as Pershing Hall was purchased by the American Legion in 1928 to serve as a memorial for General John J. Pershing, and the soldiers who fought in World War I.
The United States government acquired the property in the 1930s. And after a long period of neglect, the V.A. obtained jurisdiction and control over Pershing Hall in 1991. Later in 1998, V.A. signed a 99- year Enhance Use Lease to a French firm, allowing it to invest millions of dollars to renovate and redevelop the property as a hotel.
Today, Pershing Hall is popular in Paris for its open-sky restaurant and a vertical garden of more than a hundred feet. My colleagues on the dais have been distributed several photos of Pershing Hall as it exists today.
And short, my bill provides V.A. the authority to sell Pershing Hall. And it requires an independent real estate assessment of the property prior to any sale to ensure taxpayers receive their fair market value.
Additionally, V.A. should be required to ensure that any personal property, originally belonging to the American Legion, such as the Historical Artifacts and Artwork, be returned when the facility is sold. The proceeds from the sale and the — a corpus of V.A.’s Pershing Hall revolving fund would be deposited into V.A.’s major construction account for use on what construction — for use on construction and renovation projects in the United States.
My bill is not the first proposal to sell Pershing Hall. In 1993, Senator Jay Rockefeller, then Chairman of the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee, introduced legislation which would have authorized the sale of the property. At that time, V.A. supported the provision and testified that the authority would allow the secretary more options to consider in determining the best interest of the United States government.
One, perdinent, you know, portion of the 1993 committee report still rings through today, quote, “Managing property in Europe is a very unusual activity for V.A.. The urgency, therefore, is not set up to perform this activity in a cost-effective manner. The agency — I’m sorry — therefore, is not set up to perform this activity in cost-effective manner.” The only incentive to lease the property would arise from the need to safeguard the building as a memorial.
But this objective could be accomplished through restrictive governance (ph) if the property were sold. Aside from the infusion of capital into V.A.’s construction account, authorizing the sale of Pershing Hall also puts two broader V.A. perform initiatives into focus.
First, managing property leases is not a core competency of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Oversight Investigation Subcommittee held a hearing earlier this year, examine the VA’s wasteful land management practices, after the government accountability identified significant problems with VA’s land-use agreements.
Specifically, GAO found problems with unenforced payments or other agreement terms, expired agreements and instances where land-use agreements did not exist. As this committee deliberates how our best to refocus V.A. towards its core competencies, I believe helping V.A. get out of the French Real Estate market is a safe bet.
Finally, V.A. consistently asked Congress to grant it, the legislative flexibility to dispose of its excess infrastructure, most recently in its November plan to consolidate community care programs. It seems odd that V.A. should consider the sale of domestic V.A. property while the sale of a hotel in Paris is off limits.
Thank you again, Chairman Benishek and the ranking member for allowing me to give this testimony on Pershing Hall. And I urge all my colleagues on this committee today to join me in this effort. With that, I yield back.
BENISHEK: Thank you, Mr. Coffman. Well, thank you all gentleman for, you know, these great common sense proposals here. I’m going to yield myself five minutes for question, I’ve just got a couple of questions”
Sure seems “concerning to me” that Rep. Coffman has had ample opportunity to shake the foundations of the VA and only shimmy’s a bit when reelection season approaches. Sad, but true. He has the poster child evidence in Colorado of the VA’s blatant waste of taxpayer $$$ and rewarding the same idiots for doing so…I want more than stern words of concern at this point.
Basically, the RAC was corrupted by the VA! This way any information would not benefit veterans!
Good to know about that RAC bill Seymore.
I was a part of a committee some years ago that did reviews of proposed research which eventually fed into what the RAC ultimately did. That was before the VA fucked it all up by changing their charter causing several RAC members to resign in protest. It was nothing more than a gross grab for power and money by the VA, and likely a violation of the original law creating it.
The VA just could not stand not getting their grubby fucking rat claws on the paltry amount congress would allocate for that independent research. They were likely embarrassed over how many of their hacks had their mental health research projects rejected.
The whole RAC process was a damn good way of making sure the absolute best independent medical research was funded, and it was a benefit to veterans of any era, particularly regarding brain injury research.
If I recall correctly, the most congress ever allocated for that research was around $12 million for 1 year, which meant around $6-8 million for actual research by the time all other administration and expenses were paid. Several years were less, and I think every year the VA argued to cut the funding completely.
At $400,000 to $1,000,000 per project, far too few were funded each year compared to the millions pissed away on the VA jobs program for hacks research.
Its unfortunate the VA ignored the 1997 law for several years until congress forced them to follow it and actually create the RAC.
I think too many VSOs were also cut out of the loop on the RAC. Fuck them! They made little effort to help get the damn law passed in 1997 anyway.
So what’s new???
VA career path goes either one of two ways:
1) Fraud, waste, abuse, ineptitude; and, persecution of whomever exposes it = promotion.
2) Whistleblowers = career suicide.
It’s that simple.
Of course they promoted this loser. I mean who else can be trusted to issue contracts and jobs to fellow cronies?
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