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State Contractor Pockets $1.3 Million For Two Leases

Posted at 4:30 PM, Sep 11, 2014

(Story originally created Sept 11, 2014)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The state of Tennessee's real estate consultant will pocket $1.3 million for helping to negotiate just two leases for state government.

The State Building Commission approved the 10-year leases Thursday to provide space for 430 state workers who are being moved out of the Cordell Hull, a historic building on the grounds of the Capitol. Employees of the Department of Childrens Services and the Attorney General's Office will be moved to the UBS Tower in downtown Nashville.

Under those lease agreements, Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL) will receive commissions of $1,345,808 for assisting the Department of General Services in analyzing the state's needs and evaluating the competing bids.

JLL had recommended that the Cordell Hull be demolished, drawing criticism that itstood to profit from that recommendation because that consulting contract paid the company handsomely to handle leases for new space.

That arrangement, which was the focus of a NewsChannel 5 investigation, resulted in a stongly worded state audit that questioned the arrangement.

Prior to the Haslam administration's contract with JLL, lease negotiations had always been handled by state employees.

The Department of General Services recently recommended that the Cordell Hull should be saved. That recommendation calls for renovating the 1950s-era building, then using it to house state employees so other Capitol Hill buildings can also undergo major work.

A General Services spokesperson did not immediately have a total of the commissions that JLL has received.