- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

AURORA, Colo. (AP) - The Latest on VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson’s visit to a veterans hospital outside Denver (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

A top official at the VA says he was about to fire one executive because of massive cost overruns at a veterans hospital outside Denver and that a second executive was under investigation, but both retired before he could take action.

Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson’s comment Wednesday during a visit to the hospital construction site was his most detailed public account yet about attempts to discipline executives over the project.

Gibson didn’t identify the executives by name, but two high-ranking officials involved in the project retired last year.

Gibson also said he wouldn’t publicly release results of an internal investigation into the project, saying that would make it harder to conduct future inquiries.

Lawmakers have criticized the VA for not firing anyone and not releasing the report.

The hospital is expected to cost $1.7 billion, nearly triple the VA’s 2014 estimate.

___

4 a.m.

The No. 2 official in the Veterans Affairs Department is making another visit to the site of the budget-busting VA hospital outside Denver.

VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson will meet with contractors and department officials Wednesday at the construction site in suburban Aurora.

The medical center is expected to cost $1.7 billion, nearly triple the figure the VA gave in 2014. Completion is expected in January 2018. It will replace an aging hospital in Denver.

Investigators blamed the overruns on multiple design changes and a decision by VA officials to use a complicated contract process they didn’t fully understand.

Colorado lawmakers have repeatedly criticized the VA for not firing anyone over the problems. The VA says the executives responsible have already left department, and that others were transferred or demoted.


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