State Office Deal Highlights Rendell’s Cronyism

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review has a story about the state paying to lease office space, even though they’ve closed the office. But the more interesting part of the is the shading dealings surrounding selling the state office building and leasing space – ostensibly to save money.

Millcraft Industries Inc., owners of Piatt Place — the former Lazarus building renovated with a $2.1 million assist from the state — bought the State Office Building for $4.6 million, or about half of its appraised value. Millcraft, owned by Jack and Lucas Piatt, was sole bidder for the building.

The sale occurred despite Auditor General Jack Wagner’s objections that it would cost less to renovate the State Office Building. …

Although most of the state’s Pittsburgh offices relocated to Piatt Place, where the state is leasing 165,500 square feet of space at a cost of $3.1 million a year, some operations are in the Chamber of Commerce Building and an office building at 11 Stanwix St.

Just to summarize:

  • The state gave a $2.1 million grant to fix up Piatt Place.
  • Gov. Rendell sold the state building to the owners of Piatt Place for half its value ($4.6 million) in another sole-bid deal.
  • The state now pays $3.1 million in rent for the space in Piatt Place.

By sheer coincidence, Jack Piatt gave $75,000 to Rendell’s campaign, and Lucas Piatt another $10,000, in 2006.

This is why we need to raise taxes.