Splendor in the Court

How lavish can $20 million in cost overruns make a federal court- house? Let's start with the $33,000 desk.

The 100 percent wool carpet Mrs. Browning chose is "just a regular brownish carpet," and he thinks the marble counter top in the galley is "some kind of stone." As for the choice of materials used in other parts of the the building -- well, Browning says, those decisions were left in the able hands of the GSA and the contractors.

"You wouldn't come in and put plywood next to finely wrought oak bookcases, would you?" he asks. "I doubt that they could have done [the renovation] less expensively.

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