In another report on the state’s contract with Jones Lang LaSalle, Phil Williams enlicits commentary from state Rep. Sherry Jones, D-Nashville, on some of the shifting around of state employees as recommended by the company.
Take, for example, JLL’s recommendation that the state demolish the Cordell Hull state office building and sell off four other state buildings.
The company not only got paid for that advice, but the State Building Commission has already approved commissions of $2.7 million for JLL to negotiate just five leases for new space.
On top of that, invoices show that the Haslam administration agreed to pay JLL another $1 million dollars to supervise the decommissioning of the state buildings.
And when state employees are moved, JLL also gets paid to supervise that process, as well.
…But the best example of the potential conflict may be a building in MetroCenter.
JLL got paid to advise the Tennessee Lottery to move out.
Then, the company got paid to advise the Department of Children Services to move in to the very same building.
Part of the concerns that JLL voiced to the Lottery was the building’s “mechanical and electrical systems,” a less efficient “floor plate design” and “the risk of another flood such as MetroCenter has experienced” before.
Children’s Services is moving out of the Cordell Hull.
“With all of the problems that DCS has and continues to have, we’re going to move them into a building that’s not efficient enough for the Lottery to work in, but it’s gonna be okay for DCS,” Jones said.
And one of the buildings where JLL took the Attorney General’s Office for a tour, the Fifth Third Building at 5th and Church, is leased and managed by JLL itself.
The Attorney General’s Office is also scheduled to move out of the Cordell Hull.
“This is totally ridiculous,” Jones said.
…JLL said, in a statement, that state officials make the final decisions — and that these questions about a potential conflict of interest disregard the company’s own projections that it will ultimately save the state “tens of millions of dollars.”