A press release from State Rep. David McSweeney:
House Committee Approves Rep. McSweeney-Backed Measure to Halt New State Lease Agreements Until DHS Compliance Examination is Complete
Springfield, IL – In the wake of a controversial lease deal making headlines, the House State Government Administration Committee has given its unanimous approval to a measure State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) sponsored to halt lease agreements until the Illinois Auditor General gets answers to questions about how a politically-connected firm landed a lucrative lease agreement.
The controversy stems from the discovery of a lease agreement for a Springfield property to store Illinois Department of Human Services’ records.
The records were previously stored at the Dwight Correctional Center.
The five-year lease agreement with Climate Controlled Holdings, which is connected to long-time political insider and ex-convict Bill Cellini, was for $2.4 million.
The firm purchased the old Barney’s Furniture store in Springfield for $575,000 last January.
“There are many unanswered questions about this lease deal,” McSweeney said.
“Why are we leasing a property for millions when we could have bought the building for substantially less money?
“Why are we leasing more property when we could be using property already owned by the state?
“Why are we leasing more property at a time when the state can least afford it?
“We need answers to these questions.”
Rep. McSweeney introduced House Joint Resolution 63 to halt any new lease agreements until the Office of the Auditor General’s compliance examination of the Department of Human Services is complete. The complete report is not expected until March of 2018.
According to audit reports of CMS lease files, the Auditor General’s office in 2013 found CMS did not check for availability of State-owned properties in 17 of 25 leases filed and there was a lack of evidence of a site visit in 6 of 25 lease files.
McSweeney said taxpayers deserve more than lucrative deals for political insiders.
“It is unbelievable to me that we have so many under the Dome in Springfield pushing for a tax increase when so little is being done to protect taxpayers’ money,” McSweeney said.
“The State of Illinois has billions in unpaid bills and no budget agreement in place and our credit rating is nearing junk status.
“The last thing we should be doing right now is handing out lucrative lease agreements to political insiders.
“We need answers which is why I am calling for a moratorium on any new lease agreements until we get those answers.”
House Joint Resolution 63 unanimously passed the House State Government Administration Committee on May 31st. Senator Andy Manar and Senator Tom Cullerton will be the Senate Chief Sponsors of the resolution.