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Oh, for crying out loud

Monday, Jun 16, 2014

* Kurt Erickson says the Executive Mansion’s basement flooded

Just a week after we reported the roof on the Governor’s Mansion was leaking into the third-floor bedrooms, we confirmed the basement was flooded.

Despite the mansion being an 1855-era historical treasure, Quinn has made no clear indication he wants to properly maintain the place.

Here’s one theory on why he won’t spend the money: After complaining last year about the $50 million spent to restore one wing of the Capitol, Quinn has painted himself into a corner when it comes to fixing the house he lives in during his occasional forays outside of Chicago.

But it’s not like the administration is against repairing roofs in general.

In May, state officials opened bids to repair the Howlett office building, located in between the Capitol and the Mansion. Taxpayers will pay about $400,000 for workers to repair the ornate ceiling.

Taxpayers also are on the hook for about $115,000 to replace roofs on buildings at Illinois Beach State Park.

And, bidding is underway for roofing work at Wayne Fitzgerell State Park in Southern Illinois. The work is expected to cost under $150,000.

Either raise the money from private sources or find some state money to fix the darned thing. Sheesh.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


33 Comments
  1. - Stones - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    It’s just ridiculous that the people’s house can’t be maintained in reasonable shape. That being said when PQ made an issue about expenditures to doors in the capitol building he pretty much opened himself up to similar criticism when things need to be done to the Governor’s mansion. The guy made a career out of throwing stones at the establishment so what does he expect - they are not going to return fire?


  2. - Montrose - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    I want to see the editorial board that slams Quinn for repairing the roof on the Governor’s mansion. If he orders gilded shingles, sure, but basic maintenance is not going to be a headline.


  3. - MrJM (@MisterJayEm) - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    “Rauner: While Illinois sinks, Pat Quinn gets new indoor pool!!1!”

    – MrJM


  4. - Mokenavince - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    Since most of governors are from up state why not just get them a hotel room. Nobody since George Ryan gives a damn about the mansion.
    We could also rent space and the Lincoln Museum, with pictures of the prison cells our governors have been in. That would be a great history lesson.


  5. - Norseman - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    Fake Rauner email to Ken Griffin:

    Dear Ken,

    Thanks load for the spare cash, our campaign will put it to good use on the campaign bus for the month of August. However, I could really use your help with keeping a campaign promise. I promised to live in this dump called the Executive Mansion. Quinn has let this thing fall apart. The roof is leaking and the basement is flooded. My wife has been having fits thinking about living in this place. Since I’ve allocated all my spare cash to get the Governor’s job, I can’t put anything into repairing the mansion. If you are able to help me out with a few million to rehab and upscale this place, I’ll let you stay in one of the bedrooms. The Lincoln bedroom would be good once the repairs are made.

    Thanks Loads,
    Bruce


  6. - wordslinger - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    Get rid of it. You start chasing half a century of “deferred maintenance” now and you’ll never stop.

    It’s an undemocratic anachronism.

    Why in 2014 do we think we need to provide the governor with a mansion (or two, in Illinois)?

    The executive has a swell office under the Dome and plenty of office space for executive branch employees all over Springfield and Chicago.

    Enough, already. The gig pays well. Get a room!


  7. - Just Oberving - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 1:03 pm:

    === I want to see the editorial board that slams Quinn for repairing the roof on the Governor’s mansion. ===

    Quinn is more likely worried about being bashed by Rauner than the ed boards.


  8. - A guy... - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    Fix it, before the mold remediation turns it into a multi-million dollar fiasco. OR, let the legislature be on the hook for dumping it (per Word’s advice). Heck, we might see legislation turning it into the Speaker’s Mansion. Given the time he’s been there, it would ironically be cost effective.


  9. - shore - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 1:13 pm:

    this is what people pay taxes for-like his business card stunt after he replaced blago and refusing to get new ones.

    stop throwing sand in the sand box and fix the castle.


  10. - anonymoose - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    Gee, and recently here I joked about bulldozing the Gov’s mansion, hauling in a double-wide modular home and using the BASEMENT as a “cement pond.” I am ashamed of myself for joking.

    Special Illinois lottery ticket for repairs? A check off box on Illinois state taxes for a contribution? Collect pennies from school kids? Neglect like this just isn’t right.


  11. - Anon - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    Quinn knows that if he allocates any money for the mansion, then Rauner would demagogue it as an example of government waste. Quinn can’t afford to give his opponent another opportunity for bashing him.


  12. - Sunshine - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    Pretty simple fix really….Make the Governor’s Mansion it’s own agency. Name it either “Blagojevich almost slept here”, “Obama Came Close to Sleeping Here”, or “Quinn not only sleeps through key legislation but occasionally sleeps here”.

    When all else fails, name the roof replacement after the roof donor, etc. Have Madigan tack this onto a bill that has the support of everyone.

    As to the flooded basement, that was done on purpose so Quinn could practice walking on water, since that is what it will take for him to get positive reviews!


  13. - Demoralized - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    Setting aside the historical value of the mansion, it would be much cheaper for the state to rent the Governor an apartment in Springfield than to maintain the Executive Mansion.


  14. - Knome Sane - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 1:35 pm:

    Well, when Rauner “closes” on the purchase of his 10th mansion, he’ll surely proceed to do upgrades as new owners are wont to do.


  15. - Empty Suit - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    Maybe the mildew and mold is affecting his judgement, that would explain a lot.


  16. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    This is when Rauner and his friends step in and use the Mansion as a symbol of the decay over the past decade in Illinois.

    Then they clean it up and turn it around in the next few months and broadcast the entire thing.

    “Mr. Rauner rebuilds his dream house!”


  17. - Mighty M. Mouse - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 1:57 pm:

    ===Quinn knows that if he allocates any money for the mansion, then Rauner would demagogue it as an example of government waste. Quinn can’t afford to give his opponent another opportunity for bashing him.===

    Makes sense to me.


  18. - wordslinger - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    I don’t accept a crumbling governor’s mansion as a metaphor for state government.

    If you need one, there are plenty of others. Like kids who take the initiative to go to summer school sweating buckets in 100-year-old schools without air conditioning works for me.

    The greatest friend to historic preservation is utility and use. If you don’t have those, neglect is inevitable.

    If the chambers of commerce or tourism peeps in Springfield or DuQuoin think the mansions are critical for their businesses, time to cowboy up.

    Otherwise, time to move on.


  19. - Soccermom - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    The Mansion really is the People’s (Extremely Large) House. Organizations have parties there, and pay rental to use it. It’s kind of rough that our Mansion is the largest in the nation, which means our maintenance bills are the largest in the nation. But it’s a state asset and we should treat it with respect.

    That said, why can’t the Governor put together a private group to raise money to spruce the joint up?


  20. - Anonymous - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 2:41 pm:

    Sell it


  21. - Soccermom - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 2:50 pm:

    this is ridiculous, and it’s what happens when you make decisions based on “If I do this, he might do that.”

    the Mansion needs to be fixed. So take a lot of really good pictures showing how bad the situation is. Maybe bring in a tv news crew and walk them through.

    Then fix the damn thing. And if anybody criticizes you, show them the before pictures and tell them to shut up.

    You could also mention how many Springfield organizations and individuals rent the Mansion each year, and how many people cross its threshold.

    You might look at how much other states have invested in their mansions — I think Texas redid theirs a little while ago.

    In the meantime, do NOT use the elevator. That thing is scary.


  22. - a drop in - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    Make it the official Almost Obama Presidential Library and drop $100mil on fixing it up.


  23. - LINK - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    Isn’t there already a “private” group that works together on fundraisers to benefit the mansion? I seem to recall hearing about their activities many years ago…


  24. - Stuff happens - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 3:50 pm:

    He just leaves it like this as an allegory for the pension situation.


  25. - DuPage Bard - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 3:51 pm:

    Damned if he does damned if he don’t.
    The sad part is, if he was a take charge type personality instead of a reactionary, he would do it and just say it had to be done. Next issue!


  26. - Jake From Elwood - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 4:09 pm:

    The mansion is a state asset.
    Fix it or it will further decline into disrepair.
    Simple as that.


  27. - Mokenavince - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 5:06 pm:

    I 2nd Word’s motion. Dump it.


  28. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 5:18 pm:

    How about a campaign to put a donor’s name on each tile……


  29. - Anonymous - Monday, Jun 16, 14 @ 6:21 pm:

    I like the naming rights deal. The AT&T Illinois Governors mansion.


  30. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jun 17, 14 @ 6:38 am:

    Double edge sword, Rich.

    Raising the money from the private sector brings ethics allegations.

    If Rick Perry can refurbish the Texas mansion, we ought to be okay.

    Can’t some civilized person call the Rauner campaign and get a ceasefire agreement from Bruce on this one issue?

    How about Thompson, he is a preservationist?


  31. - Late to the Party - Tuesday, Jun 17, 14 @ 6:39 am:

    This is nothing new. When I was in the Armory Building maybe 12 to 15 years ago, there were buckets placed to catch the water coming through the roof. One desk had a large tarp suspected from the ceiling to funnel rain water that had leaked through.


  32. - Anon. - Tuesday, Jun 17, 14 @ 9:01 am:

    Burn it for the insurance. It’s the Illinois way.


  33. - Joan P. - Tuesday, Jun 17, 14 @ 9:03 am:

    “When all else fails, name the roof replacement after the roof donor, etc. ”

    Yes! Get the money from The Donald, and move that ugly sign from Chicago to Springfield!


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