What was supposed to be a $40 million renovation of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals Court has mushroomed into a $150 million boondoggle complete with lavish facilities for justices. From the Boston Herald
The project's cost was originally estimated at $40 million when it was first funded in the early 1990s. Its current $146.6 million price tag could grow higher when outstanding disputes with the contractor are resolved, officials said. The 350,000-square-foot building was gutted and then rebuilt in sometimes meticulous detail. For example, the elaborately painted ceiling in the lobby's atrium was cleaned, repaired, and restored by artisans working atop staging and scaffolding nearly 75 feet high. Justices were each given an office or suite with their choice of furnishings, a small kitchen and private bathrooms. The main SJC courtroom is entirely new. Panels of makore, a reddish mahogany, line the walls, and the ceiling is distinguished by a colored glass skylight. The state also spent millions updating systems and wiring the building for computers. Some court proceedings will be digitally recorded with built-in cameras and can be broadcast over the Internet. Suffolk County Register of Probate Richard Iannella called the expenditure ``an absolute disgrace,'' considering the public has the most contact with district courts. ``When the state budget has been cut by millions, why do they need to build a museum?'' he said. ``My colleagues are working out of rundown buildings across the state. I don't understand why we need to build such an elaborate building for such a small group of people.''
Maybe this is why voters across America are leery of electing Democrats from Massachusetts like Kerry and Dukakis?