Costly building renovations at the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are raising more congressional concerns that the agency’s spending is out of control.
A government report pegs the price of the work at $215 million—that’s $120 million more than initial estimates, with off-site leasing costs included.
“That’s more per square foot than the Bellagio hotel-casino in Las Vegas,” said John Berlau, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
The government agency doesn’t even own the building.
The inspector general for the board of governors of the Federal Reserve found that “approval of funding for the renovation was not in accordance with the agency’s current policies for major investment.”
“A sound business case is not available to support the funding of the renovation,” the inspector general concluded.
Lawmakers have mocked the project, which includes a glass staircase, concession kiosk and a ‘water wall’ ending in a splash pool.
CFPB Director Richard Cordray countered: “We don’t own the building, but the notion we are building some kind of palace is ridiculous.”
Cordray said the bureau has levied more than $141 million in fines, which have gone into CFPB education programs or reparation to consumers.