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GAO: wasted courthouse space costs $51M a year

By CURT ANDERSON
AP Legal Affairs Writer

MIAMI (AP) – Congressional auditors say wasted space in federal courthouses in Miami and around the country is costing taxpayers at least $51 million every year.

The Government Accountability Office study out Thursday says there is about 3.5 million square feet of extra space in 33 courthouses opened since 2000. That’s about equal to nine average-sized courthouses.

The GAO found rent, operation and maintenance costs for the wasted space comes to $51 million a year. Miami’s downtown courthouse has more than 238,000 square feet of extra space.

The main reasons are plans that overestimated the number of judges in each courthouse, construction above the size authorized by Congress and no plans for judges to share courtrooms.

A congressional panel is holding a hearing Friday in Miami on the wasted courthouse space issue.

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