PHOTO Tom Cullerton advances legislation to eliminate office of lieutenant governorSPRINGFIELD- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) requests a formal investigation into the overpriced Springfield warehouse the Department of Human Services leased to store state files.

Cullerton and Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) submitted a formal request to Illinois Legislative Audit Commission co-chairs Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) and Representative Robert Rita (D-Blue Island) to examine the irresponsible contract negotiated by DHS to rent the warehouse for $2.4 million for five years that could have been bought for $750,000.

“Governor Rauner needs to take the time to be kind and compassionate toward our children, veterans, seniors and vulnerable populations instead of cutting sweetheart deals for his insider pals,” Cullerton said. “My hope is this investigation sends a clear message to the governor’s administration that I won’t stand on the sidelines as they give their political allies another payout on the taxpayers’ dime. The time for Illinois Audit Commission to act is now.”

Cullerton serves on the Legislative Audit Commission and looks forward to working with his committee members to investigate this contract and other similar state contracts.

One of the owners of the leasing company is William Cellini’s son-in-law.

Cellini, a politically connected businessman, served a time in prison after his conviction in 2011 of a failed attempt to shake down Oscar-winning film producer Thomas Rosenberg for a $1.5 million contribution to the campaign of currently imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

“This may be a good deal for his insider friends, but what about our children?” Cullerton said. “School administrators and parents are unsure if schools will have the state funding to open their doors this fall; yet Rauner’s friends are making a fast buck at the taxpayers’ expense.”

Cullerton and McSweeney were successful in their joint effort to request the Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office to hold rent payments for warehouse space until the legislature is able to further review the contract.

“Taxpayers across Illinois cannot afford to wait for answers,” Cullerton said. “From what we have seen, this is clearly wasteful spending. We need to get to the bottom of this matter sooner than later.”

He is hopeful the Legislative Audit Commission will work together in a bipartisan manner to conduct an intensive investigation into the deal.

 Letter to Audit Commision