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Sink blasts DMS for 'abdicating responsibility' in Taj Mahal courthouse

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink blasted the state's Department of Management Services Tuesday when she released her audit of the extravagant expenditures at the First District Court of Appeals building saying the agency "broke the rules and lost control of the project." She called it an "abdication of responsibility" by DMS and accused the agency of letting DCA judges, namely Judge Paul Hawkes, operate as project manager and run over them.

Sink raised a piece of African mahogany and said the high-end trim expensive moulding comprises 20 miles of the new building. She said she has rejected payments for $190,000 of art work that was listed as "wall covering," just a portion of the $357,000 the court has lined up in art.

Anticipating accusations from her opponent in the governor's race that Sink should have spotted and known about the expenses months ago, she said that because the Legislature had singled out the courthouse project in its budget, her hands were tied: "Existing Florida case law prevents me from refusing to pay" she said. She can refuse to pay a bill sent to her agency "only when there is no spending authority by legislators."