Stella Fiotes oversaw the construction of the Aurora Veterans Affairs facility which as you may remember was $1 Billion over budget, so it should come as no surprise in another brilliant move the VA’s promoted her to acting head of the divisions that handle acquisitions, logistics and construction. What? Not a typo she was promoted to handle more acquisitions, logistics and construction. Remember this the next time you hear about the cuts that have to be made to save money. It’s insulting to us, their supposed heroes.
Congressman Mike Coffman, whose district includes the new hospital, is rightly demanding answers. As director of the VA’s Office of Construction and Facilities Management, Fiotes oversaw the construction of the new Aurora facility, which is expected to finally open next year after a four-year delay. Back in 2014, in testimony to Congress, Fiotes maintained that the hospital could be built within its expected $800 million budget, an assertion in question, given that the project’s cost already had grown from $604 million. Coffman later argued that Fiotes’ performance that day amounts to perjury, as evidence now shows comments about what became the $1.7 billion price tag were untrue.
For years, Coloradans have endured shame and embarrassment over the enormous cost overruns and the continued delayed opening of the new veterans hospital in Aurora. Comprehensive investigative reports from The Denver Post and documented findings of shortcomings by federal watchdogs have offered details meant to explain the many lapses that swelled the hospital’s expected cost by more than $1 billion.