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Quinn Halts Further Spending On Capitol Renovations

By aaroncynic in News on Sep 12, 2013 3:00PM


Gov. Pat Quinn halted all further spending on the renovation project at the Capitol building this week after critics blasted the cost of some of the more extravagant items in the project. In an interview with the Sun-Times, Quinn took a shot at architect J. Richard Alsop III, saying spending on upgrades would cease until “we get this architect under control.” Alsop has been on the defensive since details about the expense of certain items in the project, such as $670,000 for new doors and $380,000 for four chandeliers, hit the news last week.

“I thought the architect was excessive in what he was doing. We’re not designing the Palace of Versailles,” Quinn said.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Daley questioned Quinn’s management of the fracas. “If I was governor and this (news) broke, if I didn’t know about it, and my staff didn’t tell me, all hell would break loose,” Daley told the Chicago Tribune. He also called the upgrades “wasteful spending that could be better used to rehire teachers and restore health care cuts for people across Illinois.”

State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who is seeking the GOP nomination in the 2014 race for governor also jumped on the pile. During a campaign event in Chicago, Rutherford said he supported the upgrades to the Capitol’s ventilation system, the doors, chandeliers and statues were unnecessary, saying “I think that type of expenditure by whoever and however did that is inappropriate perhaps at any time but particularly at this time.”

While the money was already spent renovating the west wing of the building, Quinn plans to halt spending for renovations on the north wing, pending a review of Alsop’s operations. One source told the Sun-Times that part of the project could cost up to $140 million.