Empty Government Buildings Costing Over $1 Billion a Year to Maintain

Properties owned by the government for sale but rules and red tape are preventing them from selling.
1:56 | 08/30/13

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Transcript for Empty Government Buildings Costing Over $1 Billion a Year to Maintain
And now our washington watchdog looking out for taxpayer money because thousands of government buildings have been purchased with your money and they're going unused. The government can't seem to sell them and it's costing more than a billion dollars a year. Here's abc's david kerley. Reporter: Let's go on our tour of 400,000 buildings worth billions. It's lifestyles of the rich and famous. Reporter: Remember those magnificent mansions? Well, dive into our glossy guide of taxpayer owned property. There's this u.S.D.A. Building just a block off the national mall, empty for five years. In michigan, a former weather service forecast office, empty and for sale. Come inside this miami courthouse with marble floors, beautiful wood paneled courtrooms, chandeliers and it's been empty for five years, costing you more than a million dollars a year to maintain. The taxpayers are taking it in the wallet and that's not acceptable. Reporter: In fact the latest examination of federal buildings found they were underused or not used at all. Like this wear in washington, empty for four years. And get this, the total cost to you to maintain those 77 thousand properties is more than a billion and a half dollars every year. Even the white house admits that's too much and says it is moving aggressively to dispose of unused property. Aggressively, really? Remember that miami courthouse? It's historic, a historic building. And nothing is happening to it. Reporter: This college president has wanted the building since 2008. It's right next door to his campus. He experienced what the administration admits, there is too much red tape. Rultz requiring first offering buildings to other agencies, states, and local governments. Delay after delay. Reporter: Which is why after tonight, those thousands of properties are still part of lifestyles of taxpayer-owned buildings and you are paying the tab. David kerley, abc news, washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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