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$670K Doors At State Capitol Inspire Jeers

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Illinois State Treasurer and Republican candidate for governor Dan Rutherford has disavowed the controversial the $50 million dollar renovation going on at the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield, including expensive new doors at three entrances.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Rutherford acknowledged he supported needed fixes and upgrades to the heating and air conditioning system at the statehouse, and other necessary repairs.

“I can tell you that when the ceiling started to fall in at the House of Representatives, they found the asbestos and the mold,” he said.

However, Rutherford said he didn’t back the elaborate restoration, or the infamous $670,000 copper-plated doors installed at three entrances to the capitol – which was built from 1868 to 1887.

“I think that the idea of these – which are coming to light now about these doors – I think it’s abundantly unreasonable,” he said.

As for renovations to his own office at the capitol, Rutherford said, “As the treasurer, I just happen to be the guy holding the keys to that office at the present, and they designed it. I will move into it when it’s done, and my understanding is those doors are not to the office of the State Treasurer.”

The copper-plated wooden doors were custom-made to resemble the original oak and black walnut doors that were decorated in bronze. They replaced glass and metal doors that had been installed years before at three entrances.

Smaller line items of the $50 million renovation project, like the doors,  must be OK’d by both House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton.

“You make a decision about do you want to restore a landmark to the status that it had – or not? And I think most people are working towards that kind of a restoration,” Madigan spokesman Steve Brown says.

Laurence Msall of the Civic Federation says the expense indicates a disconnect between Springfield and average Illinoisans.

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