Taxpayers should be grateful to Channel 15 for investigating the $347 million state of the art Taj Mahal court tower boondoggle the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors insists on building during the recession, as they lay off employees and cut other agencies budgets – including law enforcement – by 15%. This blog has speculated that the contractors who won the bids to build the tower contributed to the Supervisors’ election campaigns, and so that is the reason the Supervisors are refusing to cut even one cent from the cost of the state of the art tower which will feature marble, travertine, porcelain and wood floors. Some excerpts –
It’s the largest construction project in Maricopa County history, but the new-state-of- the-art court tower is shrouded in secrecy.
The $347 million dollar taxpayer-funded project is already under criminal investigation by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is a flagrant abuse of public trust,” said Clint Bolick, a former attorney with the United States Department of Justice who now works for the Goldwater Institute.
Documents obtained exclusively by the ABC15 Investigators reveal attorney Thomas K. Irvine and his firm are representing both the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, who are funding the project, and the Maricopa County Superior Court, that will occupy the building.
“It is a blatant conflict of interest, one of the first kinds of conflicts you learn about in law school,” Bolick said. “It’s a matter of the fox guarding the hen house.”
Over the last three years, the Maricopa County Superior Court has paid Irvine and his law firm more than $800,000.
For what? The taxpayer would have no idea, because the Superior Court is refusing to say.
Meanwhile, the county is still refusing ABC15 and the taxpayers access to thousands of records regarding the court tower project that are being kept behind a locked door on the third floor of the county administration building in downtown Phoenix. ABC15 first requested access to those records five months ago.