NJ lawmakers file suit to halt $300M State House project

Posted: Updated:
TRENTON -

Democratic and Republican lawmakers have filed a lawsuit seeking to halt Gov. Chris Christie's $300 million State House renovation.

Democratic state Sen. Ray Lesniak and Republican state Sens Christopher "Kip" Bateman and Michael Doherty filed the suit on Monday in Superior Court.

The lawmakers argue that Christie's renovation should have been subject to legislative approval. Instead it was authorized in April by the State Capitol Joint Management Commission. That panel approved up to $300 million in bonds to be issued by the Economic Development Authority to pay for the project.

“It seems irresponsible and I think also the fact that it’s not being put before the Legislature is not appropriate,” says state Sen. Jennifer Beck.

The plan would take hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money to fund the project.

“Couldn’t we have phased it in over time? Could we do a little now and a little next year and not take $300 million out of our revenue to do this all at once?” asks Beck.

Christie has called the executive wing of the building a firetrap and says the renovations are necessary.

The lawmakers say the plan violates constitutional separation of powers.

Lesniak is a candidate for governor.

Christie's administration didn't respond to requests for comment.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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