Congressman John L. Mica (Winter Park, FL), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, today took on GSA's failure to dispose of vacant federal buildings like the David W. Dyer U.S. Courthouse vacated more than five years ago at a loss of nearly $6 million. The hearing, entitled Addressing Unused and Vacant Federal Courthouses: A Case Study in Miami-Dade, Florida, highlighted GSA's continued waste of taxpayer money for vacant and underutilized federal courthouses.
"This was my second hearing to expose GSA's tragic failure to make use of the historic David W. Dyer U.S. Courthouse. Since the first in August of 2012, taxpayers have lost an additional $500,000 on this property alone. Instead of utilizing its assets, GSA continues to watch buildings like this deteriorate and ensure taxpayers are shortchanged," said Mica.
The Dyer Courthouse, vacant since 2008, has cost taxpayers $1.2 million dollars annually to maintain since its closure. The courthouse now suffers from an extensive mold problem. GSA estimates the building needs nearly $60 million in remediation to make it usable for private sector or federal use.
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Mica continued, "As you can see from the photos of this beautiful building, it is shameful that GSA has failed to deal with a willing buyer or lease it to Miami Dade College, who has repeatedly expressed interest."
Between 2000 and 2010, the federal government constructed 33 new courthouses. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the federal government built 3.5 million square feet more than it needed. The unnecessary space cost taxpayers $835 million to construct and continues to cost $51 million annually to maintain.
"GSA continues to sit on thousands of valuable assets like this federal courthouse. This waste is absolutely unacceptable when the federal government is closing facilities, reducing services and on the verge of bankruptcy. We must do a better job of turning these valuable properties into revenue generating assets for the American taxpayer,"Mica concluded.
Due to previous Congressional oversight and hearings by Mica, GSA announced this week that the sale of the Georgetown Heating Plant is being finalized for $19.5 million. The sale of this property, which was decommissioned in 2000, puts an end to more than a decade of GSA's wasteful mismanagement of this property and finally generates a positive return for taxpayers and jobs for this area.