The House on Monday did advance two other “reforms” desired by Rauner. A House committee advanced a plan (Senate Bill 886) to allow Rauner to begin the process of selling the James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago, and the full House passed changes to the state’s procurement code (Senate Bill 8).
However, the Rauner spokesperson says House Speaker Michael Madigan “hijacked” the Thompson Center measure “to steer $50 million to the city of Chicago while putting the interests of a close friend and lobbyist ahead of Illinois taxpayers.”
* Mary Ann Ahern…
One of the building’s retail tenants is represented by Madigan ally, attorney Mike Kasper.
The governor has predicted the Thompson Center will sell for $300 million dollars. The sale would take a zoning change from the Chicago City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel has expressed concern about the cost of relocating the CTA Lake Street station located inside the Thompson.
A spokesperson for Madigan said the comments from the governor’s office “make no sense,” noting the bill was approved in a House committee Monday night.
“There were extensive negotiations,” Steve Brown said in a statement. “And there were some of the ‘blank check’ ideas from the governor that are not part of the legislation. The state will get their loophole in the Surplus Property Act so they can proceed with the sale.”
The guy cannot ever seem to take a win.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Press release…
Speaker Michael J. Madigan issued the following statement Tuesday after the House voted to pass Senate Bill 886, which would advance Gov. Bruce Rauner’s requested sale of the Thompson Center:
“Governor Rauner has prioritized the sale of the Thompson Center and today’s action moves us toward that sale. House Democrats have again demonstrated our willingness to work with the governor to achieve his goals, while ensuring—as is our duty—that these goals are achieved in the best interest of the people we represent. No negotiation can be one sided, and I urge the governor to now join House Democrats in resolving the most important issue facing our state, which is passing a state budget.”
*** UPDATE 2 *** House Republican Leader Jim Durkin…
“The Democratic bill to sell the James R. Thompson Center is another attempted money grab by the City of Chicago and a bad deal for the taxpayers of Illinois. The James R. Thompson Center was built with state taxpayer money and is owned by the State of Illinois – not the City of Chicago. Our first obligation should be to negotiate a deal that maximizes proceeds to benefit the State of Illinois. The bill that passed the House tonight takes care of Chicago at the expense of all other Illinois taxpayers.”