RealNews

Park Service Faces Questions on Statue

Even as it turned to a nonprofit group for a handout to reopen the Statue of Liberty, the National Park Service had access to millions of dollars for needed safety upgrades to the monument. The Park Service, the steward of Lady Liberty, has accumulated $15 million over the past five years from a franchise fee paid by tour operators and concession stands at Ellis Island and Liberty Island, according to Park Service officials. Under federal rules, the Park Service must spend 85 percent of the money at the site where it was earned. “If the Park Service failed to use available concession funds to expedite the reopening of the Statue of Liberty, then the Park Service doesn’t have its priorities straight,” said Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which has begun an inquiry. The Interior Department’s inspector general also has launched an investigation of the park’s management of its funds. Full Story

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