The Orlando Orange County Expressway Authority (OOCEA) approved afifth lease to a subcontractor without charging them a penny for office space inthe headquarters of the toll agency.
The Expressway Authority faced many questions five yearsago when the new headquarters opened at a cost of $24 million, withnearly five times the office space required. Since thebuilding opened, much of that space is now gone, but the Expressway Authorityis not receiving rent money for the office space. Board Chairman Walter Ketchamsays giving out space to subcontractors for free is an attempt to keep costslow for toll payers.
"You can have them lease space somewhere else, butthen you end up having to pay for it by paying higher rates because everybodyhas to include that stuff in."
We wanted to know why the authority did not either chargethe subcontractors, or find other clients looking for office space.
"They wouldprobably include that in their next bill to us, so we'd end up paying for itanyway," said Ketcham.
The toll agency currently has five separate subcontractorsworking out of the building, with a combined 125 employees. There are also 58more employees of the Expressway Authority who work in the building.