Congress wants answers on Ramstein mall project
Stars and Stripes June 28, 2007
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Construction of the Pentagon’s $200 million mall and hotel complex at Ramstein Air Base is in such disarray that the project has neither a completion date nor accurate cost estimate.
Now a Congressional oversight committee wants to know why and will hold a hearing on Thursday in Washington.
The complex, which was originally to be finished in 2006, is the Defense Department’s largest construction project anywhere.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has titled the hearing, “Waste, Fraud and Abuse at K-town: How Mismanagement Has Derailed DOD’s Largest Single Facility Construction Project.”
Three Government Accountability Office officials are scheduled to testify Thursday about their preliminary findings of an investigation into the project, officially known as the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center. Brig. Gen. Danny Gardner, director of Installations and Mission Support for U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein Air Base, will be among those on the panel.
“We want to hear what GAO has found and see if they have recommendations,” said Karen Lightfoot, communications director for Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., the committee’s chairman.
Air Force project managers revealed to Stars and Stripes in April that serious design problems and delays had halted work on some portions of the building. They also said the roof over the complex leaks and some parts will have to be torn down.
“Right now, we have not received a new formal completion date from [the German state construction agency],” said Col. Susan Strednansky, USAFE chief public affairs officer, said Wednesday.
The hearing is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Eastern Time (4 p.m. Central European Time) and last a couple hours. The hearing will be broadcast live over the Internet at: http://oversight.house.gov.