Residents Say Old Furniture Dumped By City Could Be Recycled, Sold


UPDATED: Thursday August 29, 2013 7:32 PM

It's moving day for the city of Columbus.

But instead of finding a new home for some of its old furniture, this video shows the city just found a dump truck.

The city tossed the stuff it didn't need and says it couldn't use.

“Things like office desks, chairs - perfectly good stuff,” said Daniel Hansen.

Hansen watched as the city emptied the Beacon Building of its old furniture. Several city departments are moving to a new office space across the street.

Hansen says he started shooting video when he saw what the city was dumping.

“I was pretty frustrated, not only from a cost perspective, but from a common sense perspective. I don't know why it was going to waste,” he says.

Heather Pennington also snapped a picture.

In the corner of the image, you can see a coat rack headed for the dump. Pennington says it was good enough to keep, and she rescued it.

“It definitely seems wasteful,” says Pennington “I mean, it wasn't the best, but it held coats like it was supposed to. I went down and asked them if I could have it. They handed it over to me.”

10 Investigates talked to other people who told similar stories and also took pictures.

Columbus City code says the city should sell furniture it no longer needs. That law says in part "property of the city no longer needed for public use shall be sold by the director of finance...if not sold to another city agency, such property shall be sold to the highest bidder."

Assistant Finance Director Dave Bush says he signed off on the disposal and claims he did not violate the city code.

“We make those decisions all the time,” said Bush.

Bush also says the city chose wisely and even hired a consultant to help figure out what to keep. Bush says Columbus re-purposed more than 90 percent of the old furniture and is still using stuff that isn’t in that great of shape.

As for the stuff the city tossed, Bush says it would have cost more to sell or recycle it.

“You start factoring the time and effort necessary to gather it and remove it and compare that to what the return would be, and it wasn't always in our opinion the best use of taxpayer money,” said Bush.

10 Investigates asked for solid data that would support that point, but the city didn't have any. Even so, Bush says the city made the right choice.

“You feel justified in saying you've been good stewards?” asked 10 Investigates’ Paul Aker.

“I absolutely do,” replied Bush.

The 10 Investigates team is seeking story ideas from the public. Email yours to 10Investigates@10tv.com.

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