Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) yesterday released a government report that ciriticizes the General Services Administration for its controversial lease of an office building at Buzzard Point. The report stops short of asserting that the lease should be rescinded.
The General Accounting Office, which prepared the report at Dingell's request, declined to make that judgment, it said, because of a pending lawsuit by a citizens' group and federal employees challenging the lease award.
Dingell said that he is pressing GAO to decide now, because the litigation could drag on, and because "the continued vacancy (since August) of the building is costing the government money."
The GAO report "clearly shows that through GSA stubbornness and arrogance, the taxpayers of this nations have a white elephant that is costing a great deal each month," Dingell said in a statement. "I continue to believe that the GSA should wallow in it own mistakes by moving to Buzzard POint."
GSA spokesmen declined commet.
Dingell's energy and power subcommittee is investigating that the 1975 Buzzard Point lease agreement and a GSA order last fall directing the Federal Energy Administration to relocate some of its offices at the site at 1900 Half St. in Southwest Washington. FEA appealed the order. At least three other agencies already had declined to move there.
In December, the FBI became the first federal agency to agree to take some of the Buzzard Point space but cannot move in, Dingell noted, until a "costly telephone cable is installed" to connect Buzzard Point with the Hoover Building switchboard.
Employees of agencies that have resisted thd move contend that the location is isolation; presents a high risk of crime and lacks parking, eating and public transportation facilities.
The tangled history of the Buzzard Point problem was set in motion after the Securities and Exchange Commission's 1974 request for more space. The SEC became the first agency to reject the site.
The GAO report released yesterday states that, "it appears that the (congressional committees on public works) approved the lease acquisition because of a specific SEC need, and although GSA knew of SEC's objections to the Buzzard Point building, it still awarded the lease to SJV (Southwest Junior Venture of Bethesda, which offered the lease.) The result of this decision appears to be that GSA now has an unoccupied building which few agencies care to use."
he monthly cost to the taxpayer of maintaining the Buzzard Point building has been $210,000 since Dec. 15, 1976, Dingell said. Before that, the government lost a four-month free rent advantage that he said the GAO values at $840,000.