Democrat CFO and Gubernatorial Candidates at Odds over New Courthouse
Tallahassee–This week, CFO Alex Sink started back-peddling to get away from the controversy stirred up by her protégé and aspiring replacement Lorranne Ausley over the so-called “Taj Mahal” courthouse. Sink hastily called for an audit of the construction project when Ausley wrongly placed blame for the issue on legislative actions. In fact, state records show that it was Sink who moved – in an August 12, 2008 cabinet meeting – to authorize the funding for the courthouse.
“Ausley’s hollow claims that high-end finishes and elaborate designs of the new courthouse were directed by the legislature fly square in the face of fact,” said RPOF Executive Director Ronnie Whitaker. “The Florida Legislature did not approve line items for fancy televisions, granite countertops, marble floors or any other extravagance. That’s not how state building projects work and certainly not in the case of a courthouse. Both Ausley and Alex Sink know that nothing more than an authorization for construction was given by the legislature. Authorization is where the legislature’s role ends and Alex Sink’s responsibility to taxpayers begins.”
On August 12, 2008, CFO Alex Sink made the motion – on behalf of the Florida Division of Bond Finance and the State Board of Administration – to approve bonds to pay for construction. It passed unanimously without objection and then became the responsibility of Alex Sink and her staff, who manage and oversee state contracts to ensure the appropriate expenditure of every state dollar.
“It looks like the Florida Democrats have done a pretty good job pointing out the failure of CFO Sink to run her agency and protect tax dollars,” said continued Whitaker. “For the last two weeks, Loranne Ausley has desperately tried to feign a viable campaign and in doing so has put the spotlight on Alex Sink’s failed leadership.”
“Maybe Loranne Ausley is unaware that her Democrat gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink signed every single State of Florida check that has been paid towards this project, or that as the head of the Department of Financial Services, Sink could have audited this project every step of the way,” concluded Whitaker. “The luxurious expenses incurred during the construction of the First District Court of Appeals courthouse begin and end at Alex Sink’s office. After nearly four years, it’s about time Sink started paying attention to her current job, instead of ignoring her responsibilities to climb the ladder of political ambition.”