State Rep. David McSweeney is seeking an investigation into a $10 million grant to a Chicago-based film company that was approved by former Gov. Pat Quinn shortly before he left office.
We support McSweeney’s call for an investigation by the state’s Auditor General’s Office into what appears to be an inappropriate use of taxpayer money.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported over the weekend that Cinespace Chicago Film Studios asked Quinn for state grant money to buy industrial land that surrounds its studio. Quinn approved the request, to the tune of $10 million.
Cinespace cashed the check, but, to date, no land has been purchased. And according to the Sun-Times, the owners of the land in question said they have no intentions of selling.
“I have sent a request to State Auditor William Holland to ask for an investigation of the grant money issued to Cinespace,” McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, said in a news release issued Monday. “The state of Illinois can’t afford to be handing out money to companies that fail to use the money for the stated purpose of the grant. The people of Illinois need assurances that their hard-earned tax dollars are not being wasted and misused.”
This $10 million grant wasn’t the first time Quinn approved taxpayer money for the family-owned film studio. The Sun-Times reported Cinespace has received five grants, totaling $27.3 million, during Quinn’s time in office.
Upon taking office in January, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed an executive order banning all nonessential state spending. Of course, Rauner understands Illinois is in a dire fiscal position.
Quinn, sadly, either doesn’t understand it or doesn’t care. His parting gift to Cinespace – and slap in the face to taxpayers – should be investigated.