Wanna buy a truck - for 17 cents?

| Monday, March 24, 2003

The U.S. Energy Department sold 23 trucks for 17 cents each, a $9,000 copier for a nickel and a drilling rig now offered for sale at $3.9 million for $50,000, just a few examples of hundreds of deals that squandered government resources, federal investigators found.

The sales, which also included motor homes, laboratory equipment and cranes, occurred at the Energy Department's Nevada Test Site, the installation north of Las Vegas where nuclear bombs were once tested underground.

Sales were made under a federal program intended to promote economic development in communities around Energy Department sites. Under the program, surplus government property is sold to nonprofit community organizations with the hope that they will use it to attract business and jobs.

Energy Department Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman said his department’s audit of the sales "did not strike an appropriate balance between the effort to assist community development and the need to assure that federal taxpayers received reasonable consideration for property transferred."

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