An opinion that construction and improvements on Ellis Island have been a waste of public money
ELLIS ISLAND BUILDINGS. A Majority Report Stating a Wasteful Method of Business. Washington, July 28. Two i eports setting forth the majority and minority views of the house immigration committee, which has been engaged for the last six months, in conjunction with tue senate committee, in investigating the expenditures for the Ellis Island buildings, were presented to the house to-day, Mr. Stump presenting the majority views at length, and arriving at the conclusion that there has been a great waste of public money in the construction of improvements on Ellis Island. The usual methods of the department, the report says were, not resorted to in ascer taining the condition and character of the buildings necessary for fitting out the ini migration station and proper safeguards were not taken to prevent a lavish expen diture of the immigrant fund for that purpose; and the expenditure by treasury officials of 5612,000 upon buildings for which congress appropriated ?2o0,000 Was without precedent or excuse. The committee has arrived at the further conclusion that As sistant Secretary Xettleton was guilty of great waste and extravagance in lavish ex penditure of the immigrant fund in the improvement on Ellis Island. The report says that Mr. Kettleton's fail ure to inform himself of the condition of af fairs at Ellis island, his want of knowledge of the estimates and of the testimony of Secretary Windom showing that he impru dently proceeded in accordance with his own judgment unmindful of his predeces sor's views and his use of the head money which had not been previously touched, when there was on file an opinion of Controller Matthews against its use without consulting the legal advisors of the govern ment, demonstrates such a recklessness in the handling of public moneys in the management of depratmental affairs as to create grave apprehension. The fact that an opinion was obtained from the attorney general subsequent to the investi gation, says the report, does not render the use of the money any the less thoughtless or unpardonable. Therefore the committee recommends that the secretary of the treasury investigate the subject. The committee acquits Mr. Owen of any responsibility for the improvements of El lis Island, and without passing upon the merits ot the controversy between Mr. is et- tleton and Mr. Owen, it says that Mr. Owen acted throughout with great forbearance and under the most provoking circumstances performed the duties of his office faithfully, as tar as he was permitted. The report winds up with a statement that the committee has heard unofficially, but with much gratification, that Assistant Secre tary Nettleton has been relieved of further connection with the management ot immigration matters.