Audit rips state leasing

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Springfield, Ill (WAND) – A newly released audit by the Illinois Auditor General rips the states leasing of a vacant Springfield furniture store for use as a warehouse during the states ongoing fiscal crisis.

The state moved Department of Human Services (DHS) documents and files from the old Dwight Correctional Center because the facility was in serious disrepair.  The files and documents were then moved into a leased facility at 2410 South Grand Avenue, East.

The audit rips the Department of Central Management Services (CMS) for agreeing to a five-year $2.4 million lease.  At the time the building had been for sale for about $750,000.  The audit states CMS violated a provision of the Illinois Procurement code by awarding leases to “vendors who were not qualified respondents for the leases awarded.”

In a June 2017 interview with the WAND TV I-TEAM Governor Rauner defended the lease.

“All the rules were followed,” Rauner told I-TEAM reporter Doug Wolfe at the time.  “What I was told was they tried to get the best deal they could possibly get, this is what was available and they followed the process.”

The audit was critical of CMS switching requirements for bids on its request for warehouse space saying the switch “prevented some bidders from changing their bids to meet new lease requirements violating the principle of fair and equal treatment.”

The audit continues by reporting CMS did not conduct an analysis of the cost-benefit of purchasing instead of leasing; DHS had not conducted a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of digitizing records; The amount of space requested in the DHS space request was insufficient to meet its file storage needs.

It goes on to report, “DHS also could not provide documentation demonstrating any cost savings resulting from consolidating files.”

Lawmakers, including State Senator Andy Manar, (D) Bunker Hill, criticized the leasing in 2017.  He pointed out at the time the lease deal was reached during a fiscal crisis while several other state owned buildings could have been used for document storage.

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