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*** UPDATED x1 - ISP responds *** The Mendoza car saga continues, including a Rauner twist

Thursday, Feb 23, 2017

* Sneed

Sneed hears the 2005 Chrysler that State Comptroller Susana Mendoza dumped in favor of a $32,000 Ford Explorer may have had 104,000 miles on it, but a top source claims it was in impeccable condition and not in need of expensive repairs, despite Mendoza’s claims.

“It was spotless inside, detailed all the time — and in mint condition,” the source added.

A friend of mine who once worked for the comptroller said he’d ridden in that car and agreed with the above characterization, “except for a slight Marlboro musk.”

* Meanwhile…

Days after the Bruce Rauner-funded Republican Party attacked State Comptroller Susana Mendoza for buying an Illinois-made used car for appropriate state government use, the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association slammed Rauner for his hypocrisy after failing to pass a state budget, spending 54K dollars on a luxury SUV from funds earmarked for State Troopers, and ignoring the outrageous fiscal mismanagement of Donald Trump.

“Rauner should end his petty political games and get to work passing a state budget to help Illinois families,” said President Doug House of the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association. “It’s especially rich that he breathlessly attacked Comptroller Mendoza for purchasing a used vehicle for pool use when he bought a brand new $54,000 SUV for his own use out of funds earmarked for State Troopers,” said House.

Pictures of the SUV parked outside the Thompson Center are included in this release. Also included are purchasing and voucher records detailing the vehicle’s intent and use.

Funds for the luxury SUV for Gov. Rauner’s use came from a fund that is supposed to pay for the Illinois State Police. The starting salary for a State trooper is $57,000 – about the cost of the Governor’s sweet new ride.

House continued to blast the Rauner-funded Republican Party for its hypocrisy on fiscal matters.

“Where was the Republican outrage when Governor Rauner hired Donna Arduin, a $30,000 a month budget consultant that couldn’t pass a budget? What about giving his “wingman” Leslie Munger a new job as Deputy Governor that pays $135,000? And hiring her whole patronage army of nearly 30 people at a cost to taxpayers of $1.8 million? How about Donald Trump’s weekly golf trips to Florida – an amount spent on his family in just one month that President Obama spent over an entire year?

“The Republican Party lead by Bruce Rauner is bankrupt of credibility when it comes to fiscal matters,” said House.

Finally, House defended Comptroller Mendoza’s service to Illinois to fix the mess she inherited.

“In her short time in office, Comptroller Mendoza has been working tirelessly to prioritize payments to the needy and to minimize the impact of Governor Rauner’s inability to do his job and submit a balanced budget. His failure to propose a balanced budget has led to a $12.4 billion backlog for state taxpayers,” said House.

I’m told the pic they provided isn’t even the right car, but the purchasing order is here. As you can see, the purchase was made on behalf of the Illinois State Police’s Executive Protection Unit for “increased mobility for secure transport of public officials.” So, yeah, it’s a fund “earmarked for State Troopers,” but protecting executives is part of their job.

I’ve asked the State Police if the governor’s office was involved in the purchasing decision, but haven’t heard back yet.

*** UPDATE ***  From the ISP…

The ISP continuously reviews the status of its Fleet, and makes purchases based upon vehicle conditions, mileage and usage. The ISP’s Statewide Fleet Section Supervisor or one of his staff works with the fleet coordinators for each work unit to ensure we have the correct specifications for a vehicle purchase when we order a vehicle for ISP work units. The ISP Fleet Section did not discuss this vehicle purchase with the Governor’s Office.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

56 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:08 pm:

    Of course it’s State Police money….because it’s a State Police vehicle driven by State Police


  2. - NIU Grad - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:13 pm:

    Seriously? Going after the ISP protection detail now? Are they going to include Jesse White on these releases as well? Come on.


  3. - Not It - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:16 pm:

    Not sure this is an apples to apples comparison. More like just a needless distraction.


  4. - Juice - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:16 pm:

    Was the tow package really necessary though?


  5. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:17 pm:

    So the car got detailed a bunch? So what? What were the engine ratings? What condition was the battery in? Transmission? Brakes? Availability of parts? Cost of labor?


  6. - Earnest - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:21 pm:

    >Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association slammed Rauner for his hypocrisy after failing to pass a state budget, spending 54K dollars on a luxury SUV from funds earmarked for State Troopers, and ignoring the outrageous fiscal mismanagement of Donald Trump.

    I’m just glad the Illinois Democratic Party has improved their messaging to present something clear, consistent and cohesive. /s Extra points for chasing the rabbit of who-bought-which-car along with several other points and not highlighting the true financial crisis we’re in.


  7. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:21 pm:

    Is $12.4 billion more than $32,000?


  8. - Question - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:22 pm:

    If the vehicle smelled of Marlboro, shouldn’t the previous Comprtoller be forced to have it cleaned since it is against state policy to smoke in vehicles?


  9. - RalphSchwartz - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:24 pm:

    A $54,000 Ford Exepedition XLT is not a luxury vehicle. That is a baseline Expedition. Considering the environment in which we live today I think the governor ought to be driving a true, executive protection vehicle which would cost many times what they spent on this XLT model.


  10. - RE: Question - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:24 pm:

    That comment was a lovely tribute to the late great JBT. Try to keep up.


  11. - swIFT taylor - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:25 pm:

    What Word said. This is but a droplet in the ocean. 32k also happens to be less than 1/3 what got spent on a scheduler for the first lady. Also, not everyone thought so far ahead 18 years ago to buy a trash can van. Not everyone thinks as far ahead as the Gov.


  12. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:25 pm:

    ===That is a baseline Expedition===

    Um, no.


  13. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:26 pm:

    ==If the vehicle smelled of Marlboro, shouldn’t the previous Comprtoller be forced to have it cleaned since it is against state policy to smoke in vehicles?==

    If you can contact the previous Comptroller the smoking reference was obviously aimed at, please let us all know


  14. - Amalia - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:26 pm:

    down one car, bought one used, another cannot be driven on the highway with a warning sign placed in the window. How do I know that? Abdon got it all in the story. Got all the facts into a story. sounds to me like the office is making the most of a situation to make sure there are almost enough cars available.


  15. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:27 pm:

    I thought the governor drove a crappy van.


  16. - JS Mill - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:32 pm:

    Funny, this whole thing. An odd little aside that is probably meaningless….The Mendoza vehicle was purchased form a dealership with very close ties to one of Rauner’s ISP protection detail troopers.


  17. - PJ - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    The Munger thing is indeed pretty blatant. Does anyone yet have any idea what she’s doing for that sweet salary? Why on earth did we need another deputy governor?

    He’s just stashing her in the wings for the next election. Which makes his minions’ vehicle complaints a little hollow.


  18. - chi - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    Why are state vehicles getting “detailed all the time”?


  19. - Ratso Rizzo - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:37 pm:

    In the meantime, Im patrolling the busiest expressways 40 hours a week in a 2010 Impala with 120k miles.


  20. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:37 pm:

    Next we’ll be talking about who spent what on pencils and pens. OMG, the Governor/Comptroller bought a Cross pen when Bic pens were already available.

    Meanwhile, billions in unpaid bills go unreported.


  21. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:38 pm:

    Ridiculous all of it!


  22. - Soccermom - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:46 pm:

    The car in the photo is a different car? How many SUVs are in the fleet, for heaven’s sake.

    I think the Comptroller has given a full accounting of her entire fleet. How big is Rauner’s fleet? How much does THAT cost taxpayers?


  23. - P. - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:52 pm:

    Check the PDF, it reads “purchase of 1 Ford Expedition EL for increased mobility for secure transport of Public Officials.”

    If that’s not the car, then who paid for the new SUV parked in front of his office?!?!


  24. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:53 pm:

    ===If that’s not the car===

    The purchase order is correct. He does have a new car. It’s just not the car in the photo.


  25. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    Everyone is worried about this car, maybe ask Rauner how much has been spent updating the temporary Governor’s Mansion at the fairgrounds….without a budget


  26. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:08 pm:

    This whole saga about purchasing cars is a bit ridiculous.


  27. - Generic Drone - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:18 pm:

    Well if we fired Munger, we could get 3 more!


  28. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:22 pm:

    How embarrassing!

    If Mendoza had simply paid for that car with “working together on ‘grand bargain’” she could have cleared a profit of $4,569,968,000!

    – MrJM


  29. - anonymous retiree - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:41 pm:

    Nothing but the best for O’Susana. She probably would have gotten it cheaper if she had bought it through the CMS master contract. Clearly she was avoiding the procurement rules which require bids over $35,000. Her personal car is a Prius. Why not use that???


  30. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:49 pm:

    ==Why not use that???==

    Assuming she travels a lot it would cost more to reimburse her for mileage.


  31. - Banana Stand - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:58 pm:

    My god, she bough a used Ford Explorer… It’s not like she went out and got a Rolls-Royce here. The car is going to be with the office for the next decade or so, am I the only one who could care less about this being used by an absolute micro-fraction of my taxes?

    I must give Rauner and his clones at ILGOP some credit because they simply never cease to amaze me.


  32. - old political junkie - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:03 pm:

    I really miss the class and ethics that was Judy Baar Topinka.


  33. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:26 pm:

    You would think this was the first state agency car ever bought anywhere.


  34. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:28 pm:

    Two facts among all the automotive spin
    1) The 2017 Ford Explorer is available on this year’s State Contract at a price of $25,770. Mendoza bought a used 2016 Explorer at a price of $32 500 and change.

    2 ) The ISP bought a 2017 Ford Expedition EL XLT. For 2016 on, The XLT Trim line is now the base vehicle trim level. The “EL” or Extra Length, provides what the name implies, more room in the second and third seat areas as well as cargo space. (Editorial Comment: this ain’t no Escalade.)
    Source: Ford.com and Edmunds Auto Guide.


  35. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:29 pm:

    Some people wouldn’t be happy unless Mendoza was tooling around in a 20 year old pickup truck.


  36. - Political Animal - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    How embarrassing for all sides to be arguing over the purchase of cars.

    We have $12bil in unpaid bills, $120bil in unfunded pension liabilities, and an $8bil annual structural deficit.

    Let’s stop quibbling over pennies and get to policy solutions.


  37. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:48 pm:

    ==You would think this was the first state agency car ever bought anywhere.==

    It’s not so much the purchase of a car, as much as it’s the hypocrisy of grandstanding on prioritizing payments, etc., and then going out and purchasing an overpriced car when it doesn’t seem apparent that the one it replaced really needed replacing right now.


  38. - Rabid - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:51 pm:

    How many excited job creators will it haul?


  39. - Bear3 - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:55 pm:

    Why not a skate board and /or mileage allowance?


  40. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:59 pm:

    REALLY?


  41. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:29 pm:

    ==- old political junkie - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:03 pm:==

    The ethics of full-time state employees somehow holding a second, nearly full-time job, at an alleged non-profit run by their boss JBT?

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-comptroller-trib-meeting-20140926-story.html


  42. - 11th warder - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:47 pm:

    If those older vehicles were good enough for JBT they should be good enough for Mendoza. And my brother who sells used cars says that 104,000 miles isn’t a lot for that car. What I would like to find out is how much Heller Ford made on the trade in vehicle!!!!!


  43. - (un)Happy - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:54 pm:

    Boy Scouts? I can’t think of any work done by AFSCME members that could, or should, be done by children. Did Trump repeal child labor laws today?


  44. - walker - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:05 pm:

    Is this all helping us get a budget with “reforms?”


  45. - m - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:25 pm:

    From Abdon’s release: “The Chrysler 300 was traded in for $1,500.”

    NADA (what dealers use to price trades) lists a ROUGH trade-in for that car of $2700 (clean trade $4300, clean retail $6400). The salvage price of the 300 is probably more than $1500.

    And assuming Arthur Andersen is correct: =The 2017 Ford Explorer is available on this year’s State Contract at a price of $25,770. Mendoza bought a used 2016 Explorer at a price of $32 500 and change.=

    While I agree this is a drop in the bucket from a dollars perspective, something seems funny about the transaction.


  46. - The Dude Abides - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:46 pm:

    Nice try Ralph…not


  47. - The Dude Abides - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:48 pm:

    I thought the governor drove a crappy van

    He only uses the van when he’s wearing Carhartts.


  48. - Freezeup - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:57 pm:

    Big difference in size between Chrysler 300, Explorer and Expedition XL.


  49. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 5:08 pm:

    Freeze, iirc you are or were the police. You should know that the Large SUV has been the primary mode of transportation for executive protectees across the country for at least the past decade. For reasons you (should) understand, Im not going to give you a list, but for Gosh sake, POTUS and his family ride in armored Suburbans. A State Comptroller is entitled to safe, reliable transport. A used, frankly overpriced mid sized SUV goes right to the edge there.


  50. - MyTwoCents - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 6:39 pm:

    Since the purchase order is not for a police package vehicle I’m curious if there was any additional cost to the vehicle. Also, to me personally in terms of ISP vehicles in these budget times Executive Protection should be very near the bottom of the priority list, particularly for a 50K SUV.


  51. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 7:22 pm:

    Two Cents, good question. The only SUV’s available with a “Police Package” or a “Police Pursuit Package” are the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Explorer. (Good thing Madame Comptroller was unaware of the latter.) The Packages fitted to SUVs typically include heavy-duty underpinnings, electrical, an interior fitted to hold modern-day equipment, and the like.
    Pursuit Packages change gearing, maybe engines, and tires.
    I’m not aware of an Illinois Governor with a Police Pursuit vehicle as primary transport since Jim Thompson rode around in a Walker leftover ‘73 Polara. The “towing package” some were questioning above includes many of the same components included in the “Police Package.” (Source:Ford Fleet Sales Guide)


  52. - Mikey the Dem - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 8:25 pm:

    Everyone seems very concerned about the purchase of these vehicles. Both seem to be a little ill timed, but who are we to judge the need as we don’t work for either of these departments. Additionally, last I heard/knew of from the media, the Governor has never flown on a State plane. My reasonable deduction would be that he puts on a lot of miles driving around the state. I say give them both a break, chalk this up to petty politics, and lets move on to the AFSME strike & possible Senate Budget Deal.


  53. - Rabid - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 4:23 am:

    There is always a flake that can’t except the election results


  54. - Rabid - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 4:26 am:

    I been successful in everything I’ve done, except get munger elected


  55. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 7:19 am:

    =I miss the class and ethics that was Judy Barr Topinka.=
    And the sippy cup.


  56. - NorthsideNoMore - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 7:41 am:

    I miss George Ryan and the Maroon van!


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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