Gov. suspends funding for Capitol renovations

Sep 11, 2013

Illinois’ capitol was designed in the late 1800s. Critics are upset about the money spent restoring the statehouse to what architect J. Richard Alsop III calls its “period of historic significance,” with fixtures like this statue of a maiden – which cost approximately $40,000.
Credit Amanda Vinicky / IPR/WUIS
Governor Pat Quinn has suspended funding for future renovations at the Capitol, a pricey project that's already caused embarrassment for financially-shaky Illinois and raised questions about how it was allowed. 

The Chicago Democrat told reporters Tuesday he's instructed his budget director to hold up appropriations for renovations that are yet to be done.  Quinn blamed Capitol architect J. Richard Alsop the Third.

"And the particular architect here, Mr. J. Richard Alsop III needs to be reined in by the legislative commission that he reports to."

The state has already spent much of the appropriated 50 -million-dollars for the west wing. That restoration of the Capitol has already drawn criticism along with finger-pointing. Sparking the outrage has been copper-plated wooden doors costing nearly 670 thousand dollars and more than 323 thousand dollars for chandeliers.  

Alsop didn't immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Quinn's challenger in the Democratic primary, former U.S. Commerce Secretary Bill Daley, says it's the governor’s responsibility to watch over the spending.  The renovations were ongoing for years.   Daley's spokesman says he supports suspending further funding, but that it's too little too late.