The SEC's internal investigator has determined that the regulator's $500 million lease of vast amounts of unneeded office space was only the latest blunder in a litany of bad real estate choices.
According to a new report from SEC inspector general David Kotz's office, committing to rent an extra 900,000 square feet of prime Washington office space "represents another in a long history of missteps and misguided leasing decisions."
Page after page, Kotz and his team blast "yes men," "grandiose plans," "wastefulness," and even "wild-ass guesswork" at the regulator. For those looking for reasons to hate the SEC's bureaucratic culture -- or those looking for insight into why others hate that culture -- the report is a gold mine.
The SEC rushed the move when it looked like Dodd-Frank would open up the funding to expand the commission's work force by 30%.
But after Congress, in the words of one member of the leasing team, stopped "throwing money at us," the regulator then had to rush again, this time to find other government agencies willing to share all that space.
The owner of the property -- the sprawling Constitution Center -- still wants $94 million for breaking the 10-year lease early.