Public Gets First Look at 'Taj Mahal'

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

Tallahassee, FL - The appellate courthouse is massive..a hundred nine thousand square feet.

Inside a glass domed ceiling sits 70 feet about space for spectators. Each of the fifteen judges has a suite…but the judge’s suites are off limits to the public and photographers. Lauren Engel from Department of Management Services says their hands are tied. “Its security reasons we follow the federal protocols on that, so we just follow what they set up.”

But even though the chambers are off limits…CFO Alex Sink provided a glimpse of the judicial suites…with still photos collected during her audit.They show each chamber with a private bath and kitchen complete with granite counter tops.

What you won’t see on the walls of this elaborate building is expensive art work. The CFO denied payment for hundreds of framed pictures in August..an expense she called excessive. “This is imported African mahogany” said at the time while holding a piece of courthouse trim. “There are 20 miles of this mahogany in this building” she says.

The agency responsible for construction has been criticized for letting judges lavishness run unchecked…but Lauren Engel says the agency was just doing what it was told. “DMS worked with the courts to put out a building that was completed on time and on the budget we were appropriated by the legislature.”

Lawmakers are expected to conduct their own investigation in the construction early next year.

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The First DCA Courthouse Library (Room 2211) is 1,392 sq. feet, with the Library Office (Room 2212) coming in at 205 sq. feet.


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