Op-Ed: Sell the Civic Center Complex & Ronald Reagan building to the Judicial Council

Posted on December 21, 2010

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Sometimes a good op-ed can’t wait. -JCW

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By Michael Paul

Jerry Epstein and Redmond Doms are two concerned taxpayers not unlike myself that , not unlike myself, filed taxpayer lawsuits to stop the illegal enrichment of private entities.

The Governator is in dire straits and hard pressed to show any of the promised savings derived from all his years as Governor. The AOC has been granted 5 billion dollars in bond money that comes from bonds that have yet to be sold to fund the construction and acquisition of court facilities. My complaint has to do with the lawless construction activities that result in the fraud, (bid rigging, bid steering bid shopping) waste and abuse of public construction funds and illegal enrichment of private entities.

It seems to me that since the AOC has taken the position that they object to the sale of the civic center complex and Ronald Reagan state building in L.A. to a private developer with a guaranteed 20 year leaseback, that the Governor and Legislature could legislatively re-allocate 20 years of equivalent rent payments out of SB1407 funds for the AOC to purchase these structures and bring many new courthouse construction projects with questionable costs to a screeching halt.

The remaining money left over from the bond sale with the AOC leasing back the buildings to other state tenants and becoming the landlord of these buildings solves the Governors issues, solves Mr. Epstein’s and Mr. Doms issues and goes a long way in solving my issues by taking slated courthouse construction off the books. Other construction funds can be re-allocated to support local court operations and finish those projects that have already broken ground. In my opinion, this would be a permissive and more favorable use of SB1407 funds until such time that the legislature and new governor have a chance legislatively re-define the obligations of the AOC with respect to their construction activities. Towards that end, I have lofted this suggestion to a very receptive audience in Sacramento and hope that you will join me in calling for the re-allocation of SB1407 funds in this manner.

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Michael Paul is a former Senior Technical Analyst for the California Administrative Office of the Courts. He is also a plaintiff representing the taxpayers in a lawsuit against the AOC and is attempting to bring an end to courthouses that cost $1,910.00 per square foot to build, ashtrays that cost $175.00 to empty, lightbulbs that cost $150.00 to change and flags that cost $1,000.00 to drop to half-mast.

He can be reached at michael_paul <AT SYMBOL> michaelpaul.net