LANSING — State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) officially requested today that Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette investigate the Senate’s rental of lavish new offices in the Capitol View office building, which is home to registered lobbyists and is owned by a political contributor to the Republican Party. The Senate sold the Billie S. Farnum Building that had been home to senators’ offices and that the Senate owned.
“Like my constituents in the U.P., I am baffled as to why the Senate would move out of a building that’s paid for and into a building where they will now have to pay rent,” said Dianda. “Last year, the Senate wanted a total of $134 million over the course of 30 years to pay for these fancy new offices. Unfortunately, the House failed to stop this, and there is no requirement that building purchases be approved by both chambers. These new offices are a boondoggle that will cost taxpayers money that doesn’t need to be spent. That’s why I’m calling for Attorney General Schuette to investigate.”
The Capitol View project did not have an appraisal, leaving taxpayers in the dark as to the true value of the property being purchased. The Lansing city assessor said the project was overpriced to such a degree that he would not be using the sale in assessing property values in the city. The developer behind the Capitol View project is a well-connected GOP donor who has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republicans and Republican-aligned political organizations.
“With budget cuts and increasing costs, everyone in the state is being asked to tighten their budgets,” said Dianda. “I think my constituents, and all Michigan taxpayers, deserve to know why the state seems to be overspending without regard to the actual value of this building and these new offices. In my district, if a family needs a bigger home or a business needs more room, we look for ways to fix and improve what we already have instead of rushing out to buy new. It seems to me that it would be far more prudent for the Senate to fix up the Farnum Building, especially when we are likely facing more bills related to other pressing concerns were this money would be better spent.”