Idaho to sell furnishings from former gov mansion

Idaho to sell furnishings from former gov mansion
Photo shows the former home of billionaire J.R. Simplot that he donated in 2004 to be used as a governor's mansion in Boise, Idaho.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - fgIdaho aims to unload $70,000 in surplus furniture that once filled the never-occupied governor's mansion before it was returned to the late potato mogul J.R. Simplot's family this year.

The furnishings include two bedroom sets, dining furniture, wall art and kitchen supplies,

the Spokesman-Review reported Thursday.

The Idaho Governors Housing Committee Wednesday decided to dispose of the items that are now costing about $318 a month to store in a climate-controlled facility in Boise.

The state gave the hilltop mansion back to the Simplots last summer as maintenance costs for the vacant home reached nearly $180,000 annually, threatening to drain a fund that covers the state's chief executive's housing expenses.

In lieu of an official residence, Idaho now pays its governor a $4,500-a-month housing stipend.

"The basic supposition, really, is that there's no interest in a governor's home owned by the state," at least among recent governors, said Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, who chairs the Idaho Legislature's governor's housing committee. "So we thought it'd be best to develop a plan to dispose of the furnishings."

In 1990, the former governor's home northwest of Boise's downtown was sold after it had descended into disrepair, making Idaho the sixth state with no official governor's residence.

The 2004 donation to the state of the late billionaire J.R. Simplot's landmark home atop a prominent Boise Hillock for a governor's mansion was billed as the solution, but no governor ever moved in.

The expenses began to pile up - along public pressure to give back the mansion to the Simplots, a transaction that was completed in July.

Now, state lawyers are figuring out just how to sell the things that were purchased with money that had been donated to a fund originally slated to help remodel the home.

They're uncertain if state surplus property rules apply, or if they can sell the furniture in a more informal process.

Asked if a yard sale is an option, Department of Administration spokeswoman Jennifer Pike chuckled.

"That is a very good option - I will add that to our list," she said.


Information from: The Spokesman-Review