Court Battles Leave New Jersey Residents Surprised At Shabby Look Of Their Statehouse

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – Classes taking end of the school year tours of the Statehouse in Trenton these days may be wondering if they are visiting the plywood capitol of New Jersey.

A dozen windows on the front of the Statehouse are boarded up and many more on the sides, which was a surprise to teachers and parents.

“All the boards and all that it needs help, definitely needs help,” Darnell Allen, a parent and Trenton resident, said.

“I don’t think the boarded windows really add to the beauty of the architecture,” Josh Valvano, a teacher from Patterson, said.

Now, $300 million worth of renovations are on hold.

Several lawmakers have sued Governor Chris Christie’s Office after it had a state agency sell bonds to finance the project without voter or legislative approval.

“The State Constitution says the State of New Jersey cannot borrow money without voter consent,” (D) Assemblyman John Wisniewski explained. “It’s a violation of the law at the highest level.”

Wisniewski, who filed one of the bi-partisan lawsuits, believes the boarded up windows are a matter of Christie being dramatic to get support for the renovations.

The Governor’s spokesman says they were done to prevent debris from falling on people.

Offices in that part of the building were recently vacated, along with the Governor’s Office, as tenants of the Statehouse ready for renovations.

Officials say because of a court injunction, no permanent repairs are being done until after a June 14 legal hearing.

For the time being, visitors should expect the property to keep on losing its looks.

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