Published January 17, 2013
It's a bathroom fit for a king -- or, rather, a Cabinet secretary.
The Interior Department, according to a new report, spent $222,000 renovating a 100-square-foot bathroom in the private office of the secretary. That's more than most people spend on a home -- and the price tag attracted an internal audit.
According to documents obtained by the Cox Washington bureau, government auditors questioned the "luxurious materials" used in the 2007 renovation.
Those materials included: $1,500 worth of wall panels; $26,000 worth of custom cabinets; and a fridge that cost $3,500.
The pricey upgrades were made under former Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, apparently undertaken because of water leaks.
But even in 2007, the U.S. government was deep in debt and running year-after-year deficits, raising questions about why the government approved the project.
The General Services Administration, which oversees federal government property, told Cox that more oversight is now in place to prevent over-the-top renovations.