JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Chief Judge is taking his battle over courthouse furniture to city council.
Chief Judge Donald Moran says the fight may seem to be over new furniture for the complex, but he says it's really all about politics. Moran is frustrated and went before the city council Tuesday. "There's been a controversy and I'm here to explain it to you," said Moran.
He's watched the new courthouse being built for 12 years. It's almost ready to open. "It's totally finished," said Moran.
Except now Moran says the new mayor and his administration are playing politics. "It's a little embarrassing that I have to come and have a squabble with the administration," said Moran.
The chief judge says city leaders now don't want to pay for new furniture, in an effort to save taxpayers money. "Judges aren't supposed to be involved in politics," said Moran. "It's not political. It's been addressed. There is adequate furniture to fill up the courthouse. We have furniture. The money is available, but let's not go spend it all," said city CFO Ronnie Belton.
But Moran says the furniture they have in the courthouse is old and moldy and isn't acceptable for a new 350 million dollar new courthouse. "It's put the branch I represent in a difficult situation. I can't move if I don't have hearing rooms," said Moran.
CFO Belton admits there could be a delay in the courthouse opening next month. "There could be, but I don't think that'll occur. It'll be resolved," said Belton.
Now the big question is who has the final say about this furniture issue. For two days, Action News has asked the courthouse committee leaders, city council members and the city's CFO. No one has answered our questions.
The chief judge does have the final say on when the building opens, and people we've talked with say they think there will be a resolution in the problem.