2013-07-18 / Local & State

Construction Halted On $75M VA Outpatient Center

BUTLER, Pa. (AP) – The Department of Veterans Affairs said Thursday that it has halted construction on a $75 million outpatient center in western Pennsylvania while they investigate the main contractor.

The VA said in a statement that the stop work order is based on the initial findings of a VA Office of Inspector General investigation of the prime contractor and certain company representatives.

The Pittsburgh Tribune- Review reports that the main contractor is VA Butler Partners Co. of Cleveland, which was formed within the last year by representatives of Westar Development Corp.

Federal prosecutors in Cleveland indicted a Westar executive in April for mail fraud and related charges, shortly before the groundbreaking in Butler.

Westar said it fired senior vice president Robert Berryhill after his indictment. It withdrew its request to Butler County for $3.2 million in property tax breaks for the $75 million project, which was scheduled to open in 2015.

Berryhill entered a plea agreement in U.S. District Court in Akron on April 23, according to court records, and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 30. The plea agreement is sealed.

VA Butler Partners did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

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