- The University of Illinois at Chicago spent $1 million to renovate, furnish and maintain an all-expenses-paid home for Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares upon her hiring five years ago, intending it to be used for university functions.
- The Jonasson House has hosted only 11 functions in four years, and Allen-Meares hosted only one event there in 2011 and two this year.
- Renovating and furnishing the property cost $625,000, and with $100,000 spent annually to maintain and manage it, the costs keep climbing.
It's not hard to imagine that some in the UIC community are probably a bit taken aback by the investment in a property that sees so little use. In the Chicago Tribune's analysis of 1,300 pages of invoices, receipts and other records, it even found that the chancellor's office dropped almost $400 on air fresheners over 9 months. Campus officials defend the lack of use by citing its small size, 1-mile distance from campus and lack of street parking, but U. of Illinois President Robert Easter now wants a committee to review the home and recommend best uses. A smart move, considering UI officials frequently bemoan funding limitations.