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Duval County Courthouse Construction Battle Drags On

12:00 AM, Feb 9, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Though still under construction, the new Duval County Courthouse has already seen its share of battles.

"It's almost insulting and embarrassing to tell you the truth," said Councilwoman Denise Lee.  

The three-hour courthouse oversight meeting belabored the project that's dragged on since 2000.

Talking accountability and taxpayer money, members of the committee want answers.

"It doesn't say a lot about us as a city, that we're getting ready to start all over. It doesn't look good," she said.

Lee said she's not sure where all the money for the courthouse is going, or where she can get answers.

A consultant hired to work on the project resigned last week.

Sam Mousa submitted his resignation Jan. 31, but no one on the committee seemed to know about it.

"I think he should be subpeonaed. That's all I have to say," she told the crowd.  

First Coast News couldn't reach Sam Mousa for comment, but his contributions to the project were a hot topic at the meeting.

Also on the agenda,a proposed secure bridge between the new state's attorney's office and the courthouse.

Mayor Alvin Brown's new proposal to slash $4 million from the project cuts the bridge out entirely, but State Attorney Angela Corey showed up to argue to keep it in the design.

"It's not just as simple as a 300 foot walk, because it's laptop in this arm, purse in this arm, pulling boxes of files," she said.

She also told the panel it was a matter of security for attorneys  who are transporting physical evidence.

No final decisions were made at the meeting, but Chief Financial Officer Ronnie Belton said they're committed to getting answers.

"What I'm about to do is get an independent audit done for you, and get more answers to questions and proceed from there," said Belton.  

First Coast News

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