Fact checking fact check again…Courthouse Construction

Posted on August 12, 2013

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Yesterday the new 319 million dollar 600,000 square foot federal courthouse (link) broke ground in Los Angeles. Meanwhile the net present cost of the long beach courthouse in terms of a 35 year lease is $725 million. In their fact check advocacy they tell us that the maximum price of the courthouse over 35 years pre-factoring in inflationary costs would be 2.3 billion in a perfect storm scenario, yet a real perfect storm scenario would exponentially drive up costs even further should one word be uttered in all of those 35 years and that word is “hyperinflation”.

The Long Beach contract (link) has factored in to it an estimate of future costs based on rosy inflationary projections but at the same time guarantees a margin of profit over and above inflationary costs. While this might not seem readily apparent, it is contractually the equivalent of betting on a long shot at the horse races. Sure the nag may pay off big but the odds are better that you will lose your bet if you are the government. These risks are not borne by the private partner and that’s pretty clear in the contract and somewhat clear (because it is an argument omitted) from the AOC’s fact check advocacy.

As much as the AOC wishes to embrace this project as a resounding success upon which they should build upon, eleven other projects were canceled as a result of poor planning by both the judicial council and the AOC. Worse, if the AOC doesn’t manage to legislatively pawn the bet costs of this project to the state, then the bet  costs will be paid for by those who made it. Personally, I think the money should come out of AOC appropriations and not trial court construction funds because it was not the courts that will not be built that made the decision. A very small group pushed this through the judicial council and the AOC as if it were a black ops project with little input from others in the branch and no accountability.

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Yesterday Unionman provided a link to the semiannual reports on contracts for the judicial branch as required by public contract code 19029. You’ll note that they’re grouped by individual trial courts and the “old state court system”  that includes the AOC, Appellate & Supreme & HCRC  who share many resources.

Want to amuse yourself?

Check how many corporations that collected money from the AOC that are not in good standing with the state department of corporations.

Check the same thing against state bar records.

Check to see how many payees don’t hold a valid business license.