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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Mike Fasano turns 'Taj Mahal' tour into political theater



TALLAHASSEE — Sen. Mike Fasano imagined the opulence of the new courthouse that has been branded a "Taj Mahal.'' But as over the top as he pictured it, the tour he got Monday raised even more questions.

As he moved from the domed courtrooms done in expensive African mahogany to the exercise room with the rubber floor, 60-inch TV and locker rooms, the new chairman of the Senate committee that controls the state courts' purse strings lost it.

Maybe it was the 15 kitchens, one for each judge. "Their egos are so big they have to have their own private kitchens?'' Fasano said. "Fifteen kitchens?''...

Nobody from the court returned requests for comment, including Judge Paul M. Hawkes, the driving force behind the courthouse. The stage was left to the Republican senator from Port Richey. It was pure theater as he led reporters and a few state officials around the building.

In an empty "activity room'' equipped only with its rubber floor and 60-inch TV, Fasano asked what equipment the court plans to put there. No one could respond.

"All of a sudden are they not putting anything in here because they got caught?'' he asked.

(Story here)


[Last modified: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 12:13pm]


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