A Closer Look at the Tallahassee 'Taj Mahal'

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - State Senator Mike Fasano entered the new 1st District Court of Appeal Monday with a disposable camera and a lot of questions.

This facility was built for what, 18 judges?

Why African Mahogany if we don't even know the difference once it's installed?

Will they be watching the court proceedings while they are exercising?

The 48 million dollar courthouse has become a symbol of wasteful government spending. Fasano wants to know how the mahogany panel, granite counter tops and big screen TVs slipped past a self-proclaimed conservative legislature and a state agency.

Mike Fasano, (R) Pasco County, FL, says, "It disgusts me. It's outrageous, but to start pointing fingers, I don't have enough fingers on my two hands to point to everyone who is to blame for this debacle."

On the hour and a half long tour Fasano, discovered a locker-room, a gym and several robing rooms for the 15 judges. He also found rooms built as kitchens that will now house files.

But when the capital press corps toured the building last week, we weren't allowed to see the activity room, the locker room, or the judges robing rooms.

We also weren't allowed to shoot video in the judges' chambers… we were told there were security concerns. Now video shows the Mahogany bookcases, granite countertops, 60 inch flat screens and private bathrooms.

Thomas Burgess,Department of Management Services, says, "Building plans are exempt from public records requests so there are safety concerns for any public building."

Little can be done for this building, but Fasano hopes by making an example of the excesses; he can keep budgets lower for future buildings.

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