Some lawmakers crying foul after state GOP awards office contract to republican donor
LANSING, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Tonight, Michigan is pinching pennies to fix roads and bridges. But the state does have $134 million in the budget for a new office building.
Now, some lawmakers are crying foul.
Democrats say Republicans awarded the multi-million dollar contract to this new office building to a Republican donor. Tonight, Democrats are asking Michigan’s Attorney General to investigate.
Next year, State Senators will move out of their current building to a new office building 50 yards down the road.
The Capitol View Building is expected to cost taxpayers $134 million.
Democrats dubbed it the "Capitol View boondoggle."
"This deal was rewarded in the dark of night to a major Republican donor with no oversight and no accountability to taxpayers," said Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber.
It's true that Republican State Senators awarded a well-connected political donor the multi-million dollar contract.
"I think, to the best of my knowledge, it was all done legally," said Senator Rick Jones, a republican from Grand Ledge.
Senator Rick Jones voted against the project, but says awarding a contract to a political donor isn't new in Lansing.
"Anytime a contract is awarded, there is probably somebody who has donated to one or the other party. Back when Jennifer Granholm built the state police headquarters, it was widely known that donors were involved in that," he said.
Tonight, Democrats are calling on Attorney General Bill Schuette to investigate possible wrongdoing, but he's declined to do that.
"Clearly there are much better choices than spend $134 million on new offices for state senators," said Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon.
Tonight, House Republicans are calling democrats claims of cronyism unfair.
"House Republicans had no role in this. That's simply not true, and the democrats know it. This is just a cheap campaign stunt. The state bought the building years ago, and this year we started making bond payments to make sure the state doesn't fall into debt," said Gideon D'Assandro, on behalf of Michian House Speaker Kevin Cotter.
We also reached out to the office of Michigan Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof. We're still waiting to hear back at this time.