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$297 million? $437 million? What's the difference?

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"You don't actually think they spend $20000.00 on a hammer, $30000.00 on a toilet seat do you?" ~ Independence Day

Well, it's the difference between what the new LAPD headquarters currently under construction should cost and is costing. And City Controller Laura Chick, who is responsible for auditing city spending to find misuse, abuse and savings, is making headlines by putting departments city who oversee contracts and contractors themself on notice, starting with the new police building scheduled to open in 2008 at 1st and Spring that is woefully over budget.

Water and Power commissioner Nick Patsaouras told the Daily News that "she has never done an audit like this before and it has the potential of saving the city millions of dollars. These projects have all had green lights to spend money with no one watching what is going on. And what we see is these projects grow by the millions of dollars and no one is responsible."

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Well, now someone is watching and her name is Bulldog Chick. In this specific case, the general contractor for the LAPD HQ is not being looked at, but rather "the city agencies that are overseeing the work as well as the subcontractors who have been hired to perform specialized work on the building," according to the Daily News. Chick expects the $200,000 audit make way for significant savings as the project goes on.

Photo by OrangeLimey via Flickr