Judges Lobby, And Tallahassee Gets ‘Taj Mahal’ Courthouse


Amid a statewide budget crisis, Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee is about to get a new courthouse that some call a “Taj Mahal,” reports the St. Petersburg Times. Scheduled to be completed in November, it’s a $48 million behemoth in which each judge will get a 60-inch LCD flat screen television in chambers (trimmed in mahogany), a private bathroom (featuring granite countertops) and a kitchen (complete with microwave and refrigerator). It got funded by a last-minute amendment on the last day of a legislative session.

The funding was buried in the middle of a 142-page transportation bill, approved the last day of the 2007 session. The state had never floated a bond issue to build a courthouse, but Sen. Victor Crist of Tampa attached the amendment that allowed the court to float a $33.5 million bond issue. Several legislators say they were not aware the courthouse amendment was in the transportation bill when they voted on it. The court began looking at a new building in 2006 after rejecting the possibility of expanding its existing, rent-free building in downtown Tallahassee. Lawmakers say two 1st District judges, Chief Judge Paul Hawkes and Judge Brad Thomas, lobbied furiously for the new building.

Comments are closed.


You have Free articles left this month.

Want access to all our reporting? Subscribe for unlimited access or login.