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The Government Accountability Office has completed a follow-up investigation into the KMCC and is to release the details at a congressional hearing on Wednesday. Phase one of a four-step plan to fix the poorly constructed roof is under way with an overall goal of completing construction by the end of 2008.

The Government Accountability Office has completed a follow-up investigation into the KMCC and is to release the details at a congressional hearing on Wednesday. Phase one of a four-step plan to fix the poorly constructed roof is under way with an overall goal of completing construction by the end of 2008. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

The Government Accountability Office has completed a follow-up investigation into the KMCC and is to release the details at a congressional hearing on Wednesday. Phase one of a four-step plan to fix the poorly constructed roof is under way with an overall goal of completing construction by the end of 2008.

The Government Accountability Office has completed a follow-up investigation into the KMCC and is to release the details at a congressional hearing on Wednesday. Phase one of a four-step plan to fix the poorly constructed roof is under way with an overall goal of completing construction by the end of 2008. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

A painter finishes off a portion of the ceiling in a hallway of the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center on Tuesday at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

A painter finishes off a portion of the ceiling in a hallway of the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center on Tuesday at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

Contractors apply insulation to the roof of the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center on Tuesday at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Phase one of a four-step plan to fix the poorly constructed roof is under way with an overall goal of completing construction by the end of 2008.

Contractors apply insulation to the roof of the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center on Tuesday at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Phase one of a four-step plan to fix the poorly constructed roof is under way with an overall goal of completing construction by the end of 2008. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

Contractors apply insulation to the roof of the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center on Tuesday at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Contractors apply insulation to the roof of the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center on Tuesday at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Congressional leaders will get an update on the problem-laden Kaiserslautern Military Community Center at a hearing Wednesday.

Investigators with the General Accountability Office have completed a follow-up investigation into the delayed mall-hotel complex and will release the details at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in Washington. The 844,000-square-foot facility is two years behind schedule and has been dogged by claims of fraud and mismanagement.

The hearing is titled "Waste, Fraud, and Abuse at K-town: One Year Later."

Greg Kutz, the GAO director of forensic audits and special investigations, said he will testify at the hearing about what investigators found on the second probe into the problems related to the construction of the building. But he declined to give any details about their findings before the hearing.

Brig. Gen. Marc Rogers, vice commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, will also face questioning from members of the committee and provide a progress report from the Air Force on what is the U.S. military’s largest single-site construction project in the world.

The second GAO report is a follow-up to its first investigation — released at a congressional hearing a year ago — when investigators offered a scathing report to committee members attributing mismanagement and shoddy work to numerous delays and estimated higher costs.

Col. Robert Moriarty, deputy director for USAFE installations and mission support, said by telephone Monday that there has been a lot of progress since the last hearing. More workers are on site, work is in full swing on the once leaky roof, and many of the technical problems have been fixed.

A team of federal investigators visited Ramstein for two weeks as part of the investigation in March to get an update on costs and find out the status of the fraud investigations connected with the project. Crews are repairing the roof after discovering in 2006 that the original contractor did a poor job and later went bankrupt and could not fix it.

The roof is being fixed in four phases and will cost $10 million. Workers began the second phase about two weeks ago, Moriarty said.

"All four phases of the roof are tracking and moving along, so that’s good news in that the designs are complete or getting completed on all phases, and tendering is going along and there’s actual work going on," Moriarty said.

Last year, there were fewer than a dozen workers at any given time. Now, the site averages about 60 workers. Many contractors had pulled their workers off the site due to delays in payments.

"The worker count is up and that’s probably the most encouraging," Moriarty said.

On Tuesday, workers put up drywall and could be seen painting the ceiling. Some of the office spaces and store booths appear finished and need only merchandise and furniture. Other areas are not complete including the kitchen, which needs duct work.

Air Force and German construction officials are projecting that construction will be finished by the end of the year, but they do not have an opening date for the hotel or the Army and Air Force Exchange Service mall. German state construction agency Landesbetrieb Liegenschafts und Baubetreuung, or LBB, is heading up the project.

Federal investigators and Air Force officials have differed on the final price tag of a facility that will include Europe’s largest exchange. Air Force officials have stated the project will cost around $161 million, more than originally thought but under the budgeted amount. Investigators estimate the cost will be closer to $200 million because of all the problems.


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