Architect J. Richard Alsop III also acknowledged Friday that a couple of replica statues showing classical-style maidens cost almost $160,000, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The original statues selected by architect Alfred Piquenard never actually graced the Illinois Capitol, built in the late 1800s for $4.5 million, because state officials of the era found them too risque, and Piquenard used them instead in the statehouse in more tolerant Iowa, where they remain.
Alsop confirmed this week that three sets of copper-clad doors cost more than $600,000.
The French Renaissance-style building has been undergoing a $50 million renovation with the twin aims of restoring it to its 19th-century glory while meeting modern standards of fire safety and disability access.
Critics say the luxury touches were not necessary at a time when the state is behind in its bills and underfunded in its pension obligations.
Jim Durkin, the Republican minority leader in the Illinois House, said the spending appears to have been done on the quiet.
"I'm embarrassed to say this went on without anyone's knowledge that I'm aware of," he told the Sun-Times. "And we have some egg on our face."
The project has its defenders. Patty Schuh, a spokeswoman for Christine Radogno, the leader of the Republican minority leader in the Senate, said almost any spending on anything can be made to look excessive.
"But this is part of a long-term, long-range maintenance and restoration plan for a historical building that has 200,000 people in it every year," Schuh said. "The bulk of the project is the beyond-necessary mechanical fixes, ADA access and life-safety and fire code requirements."
Wisconsin business offering 'therapeutic cuddling' forced to close
Video of Victoria’s Secret models trying to 'twerk' hits Instagram