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California Waits To Sell Off Unused Gov’t Buildings

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(CBS)

(CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Attorneys for the state agreed Monday to delay selling dozens of courthouses and other government-owned buildings until a lawsuit challenging the deal’s constitutionality is heard in court.

The governor hopes to raise $1.2 billion by selling 24 buildings to a group of private, foreign investors. Opponents point to a report from the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office that leasing the buildings back would cost $1.4 billion over the next 35 years.

“The governor and the legislature have no constitutional ability to sell the courthouses, nor can they give away beautiful state buildings at fire sale prices,” said attorney Joe Cotchett, who represents three of the plaintiffs.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

The governor and the legislature violated the separation of powers with a deal that even includes the Supreme Court’s computers, Cotchett said. The San Francisco Superior Court hearing where Cotchett planned to ask for a temporary injunction has been delayed until early December.

Lawyers for the state said California would not move forward on the deal until at least Dec. 15 to allow time for that hearing.

Andrew Stroud, an attorney for the governor and the California Department of Real Estate, said the state Judicial Council does not have to approve the deal because the state itself, not the individual courts, own the properties in question.

“The Department of General Services worked very, very hard, conducted a thorough review,” he said.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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