by Scott Reeder
Journalist in Residence
Two years ago, Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration was talking about selling Thomson Correctional Center so that he could spend more money on capital projects. Change of plans – his administration now wants to use the money to pay bills.
This month, the Feds cut a check for $165 million to buy the empty Thomson penitentiary and make it part of the federal bureau of prisons.
State officials have been trying to sell the prison for several years.
Here is what Quinn’s Chief Operating Officer Jack Lavin told the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability in a 2010 written statement:
“We intend to ask the General Assembly to appropriate all of the proceeds from the sale of Thomson for capital projects.”
But priorities can change over time, so I double-checked Tuesday morning with the governor’s office on how the money would be spent.
Quinn’s press secretary Brooke Anderson was dismissive of the 2010 Lavin statement saying that was an “old” proposal and now the money will go toward paying the state’s backlog of unpaid bills.