Senate Democrats Say State Agencies Must Explain Warehouse Deals
Illinois Democrats are asking Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration for more information about state leases of private warehouses.
The Senate Appropriations Committee questioned agency directors Thursday over decisions to lease property instead of using existing state buildings to store records.
Department of Human Services officials say safety concerns prompted moving records in February from a former prison to a Springfield warehouse under a $2.4 million five-year lease. A second warehouse will store records for the Illinois Department of Transportation at $277,000 per year.
Michael Hoffman, director of the Department of Central Management Services, says the leases only seem high because the building owners are paying for improvements.
“A lot of these landlords not only have investment in the property, but that have put a lot of money into getting it ready for our use,” he said.
However, minutes from an independent board that reviews such transactions show concerns about the state paying for improvements for which landlords are supposed to be responsible, like adding bathrooms.
The Rauner administration says Illinois buildings are poorly maintained because the budget impasse means the state doesn't have money to maintain them.
Democrats counter that officials failed to provide all the details they requested.