081915CM0995RTrsVILLA PARK— Illinois is currently paying $2.4 million to rent space in Springfield to store Department of Human Services’ records in a warehouse that could have been bought for $750,000.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is outraged at Governor Rauner’s irresponsible use of state funds.

“The governor prioritizes paper over people,” Cullerton said. “Meals on Wheels, rape crisis centers and mental health facilities are surviving on bare-bones budgets while state files are living the high life. It may be difficult for a big-time businessman to get this, but the state doesn’t have $1.65 million to waste on careless expenses.”

The Springfield warehouse was a former showroom of Barney’s Furniture before the store moved to a new location last year. Climate Controlled Holdings LLC bought the building from Barney’s. Climate Controlled then leased the building to the state for five years at a cost of $478,256 annually for the first two years, and $487,881 for years three and four, and $497,507 for the final year.

“Maybe this is a good deal for his insider friends, but it’s a horrible deal for the people of Illinois,” Cullerton said.

The latest Sangamon County assessment shows the building has a fair market value of $1.2 million. However, the Senate Appropriations Committee found the building could have been purchased for $750,000. Cullerton is calling for the Illinois Legislative Audit Commission to conduct a statewide audit of state facilities to explore savings and root out irresponsible leasing agreements.

“The governor may not be aware, but we are in the middle of a state budget impasse,” Cullerton said. “As Illinois social agencies continue to struggle, we are asking the governor to lead. Be part of the solution. Don’t continue to waste valuable taxpayer dollars with reckless decisions.”

Cullerton sits on the Illinois Legislative Audit Commission Committee, a bipartisan and bicameral group of 12 legislators who are responsible for the oversight of the State Audit Program, review of the stewardship of public funds and the monitoring action to correct weaknesses disclosed by the audits of state agencies.

“The time for the governor to act is now. Illinois cannot afford to waste a single cent,” Cullerton said. “The Legislative Audit Commission should call for an immediate investigation into how the governor’s handpicked department head could abuse taxpayer funds and trust. I’m here to represent the people of the 23rd Senate District and ensure we make sound financial decisions to protect the future of our children and this great state.”