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Judge to weigh in on Orlando VA cost overruns

The Fisher House starts construction at the Orlando VA Medical Center this month.

When the Orlando VA Medical Center in Lake Nona is finally completed in January, it will not only be later than expected, it will be more expensive – nearly $49 million more by one count.

A federal agency will decide who has to pay for the cost overrun for the hospital and clinic: taxpayers, or the contractor hired to build it.

Computer malfunctions and inadequate staffing are just some of the reasons the VA says it’s been unable to provide evidence in the contract dispute over the $277 million dollar hospital and clinic.

Judge Stephen Daniels called the 9 month delay “egregious” and set a deadline of December 1 to turn over emails and electronic documents, or pay for an independent third party to do it for them.

Stetson law professor Adam Levine says the builder, Brasfield & Gorrie, is looking for proof the VA knew there were problems with the design.

“It usually doesn’t come to this,” Levine said.  “Usually you turn over the information and you move on. Here either the VA doesn’t have the time, the money, the resources, or the inclination to cooperate, for an unclear reason.”

VA officials said they will propose a third party to handle the request, and Brasfield & Gorrie declined to comment on pending litigation.

No trial date has been set.

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Abe Aboraya

About Abe Aboraya

Health Reporter

Abe Aboraya started writing for newspapers in High School. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe ... Read Full Bio »