- Posted at 8:48, November 21, 2013
- By Russ Bleemer
Jones Lang Lasalle's consulting work has driven a Tennessee legislator to introduce a bill that prevents conflicts of interest in state contracts.
Nashville's NewsChannel 5 reports that state auditors have confirmed that the administration of Gov. Bill Haslam had mishandled a deal with JLL, with whom the Republican governor has investments.
JLL completed a $1 million contract on use of state facilities in which it recommended moving state offices. Then, it started picking up fees for the work of relocating government departments.
The result, the report says, is that "JLL gets paid to give the state advice on its buildings, then it gets paid again to carry out that advice."
The bill disallows contractors to profit off of their own recommendations, which the report notes was recommended by the state's auditors, and which it says would follow federal contracting rules.
After their findings earlier this month, JLL released the following statement:
Jones Lang LaSalle, in full coordination with the Department of General Services, is executing the State of Tennessee's innovative real estate program that is saving taxpayers tens of millions of dollars by decreasing expenses, reducing underutilized office space and updating office standards to improve productivity.
All of these services are provided based on terms developed by the Department of General Services and in compliance with applicable laws, policies and real estate industry practices.
JLL agrees with the DGS response to the Comptroller's Audit, which states, (on page 35): ‘Because of the nature of the approval process, with each lease being fully vetted in public meetings, any risk of a misuse of taxpayer dollars as a result of a perceived "organizational conflict of interest" was eliminated.'
All recommendations JLL makes to the state are made exclusively in support of effecting the state's goals for real estate services. The state provides criteria for our evaluations, and then either accepts, rejects or modifies our recommendations in its complete discretion.