Gov. Pat Quinn is blaming grant recipients for being reckless with state money under the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. He says the grant recipients should be careful, and expect scrutiny. “Any group that receives public money has to be accountable. With respect to anything they did with the money, if it wasn’t proper or right, they have to be held accountable and if there’s anything wrong, we have to get to the bottom of it. And that’s exactly why I shut this program down. I felt that it was not going in the right direction,” he said.
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The program has been criticized by the auditor general as poorly run, and Republicans say it was a political slush fund for the governor, as evidenced by the fact that many of the grants went to organizations recommended by politicians, or run by politicians or their relatives. Criminal investigations are under way in Springfield and Chicago.
The governor is supporting legislation, sponsored by State Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Hoffman Estates), that’s supposed to put grants under greater oversight and spending restrictions. That bill has passed the House and is under consideration in the Senate.