Driver's license station closed to find source of worker illnesses

Driver's license station closed to find source of worker illnesses

CHAMPAIGN — Independent professionals were expected at the Illinois Secretary of State's driver's license station in west Champaign on Saturday to try to find out why employees there have been feeling ill.

"It is temporarily closed and we're hopeful we'll be able to reopen by Tuesday," said Secretary of State spokesman Henry Haupt.

The station, which has 17 employees, was closed all day Thursday and again Friday due to what Haupt called "potential air quality concerns."

"We had several employees complain of experiencing headaches and a couple felt nauseous. We're committed to ensuring the health and safety of employees and customers. Tests are being conducted by independent professionals on Saturday," he said.

The station is normally open Tuesday through Saturday but will remain closed Saturday, Haupt said.

Last Friday, Aug. 9, Haupt said employees noticed a strong odor in the building, prompting the office to close a bit early near the end of the day.

"We have been and continue working with the building's landlords to insure all potential safety concerns are resolved. The landlord had a company come out and do some cleaning," he said.

Haupt said the landlord of the property is listed as 2401 W. Bradley LLC, which is also the address of the station.

Haupt was unable to say if the odor last week had anything to do with why employees felt ill this week. That's why tests were planned.

"The odor has been eliminated," he said.

There is a sign on the door to the station directing customers to other driver's license facilities in Rantoul, Tuscola, Monticello, Bloomington and Tilton.

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Bulldogmojo wrote on August 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Schadenfreude!!

ronaldo wrote on August 16, 2013 at 4:08 pm

I'd feel nauseous if I had to work with some of their coworkers, too.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on August 16, 2013 at 6:08 pm
Profile Picture

 I've had good-to-very-good experiences with the staff. The building, on the other hand, is abysmal.

 

It's awful. It's gross. It's cramped. It's ugly.

 

I can't imagine spending 30 years there. 30 minutes is hard enough.

Lostinspace wrote on August 17, 2013 at 9:08 am

I agree.  I've dealt with nice folks there, and their system works pretty well.  As for the building...

mhuls886 wrote on August 16, 2013 at 8:08 pm

why can we not know the owner of the building, could it be because the owner does not want to be identifed as the one with a sweatheart lease of the building to the goverment

STM wrote on August 19, 2013 at 9:08 am

I thought Tom Harrington Jr. was the owner of the building.  I'm sure the deal has been very profitable.  The current facility provides less offices space and fewer parking spaces than the old facility on Bloomington road at twice the price.  We also get the added benefit of it being a traffic nightmare across from the entrance to Parkland, while at the same time bottle-necking traffic to a residential neighborhood.

Champaign is dysfunctional when it comes to their more-connected business types.

Political Observer wrote on August 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm

My memories are similar to the account that STM has given above, with a few small differences in details.  I remember reading some time ago in the News-Gazette that the driver's license station was going to move from the N. Mckinley - Bloomington Road location to the newly-built (at that time) Parkland-area location, because the former location had gotten "too cramped" and the newly-built location supposedly offered more square-footage (but of course at a far-higher cost per square foot of real estate, as STM pointed out).

When I first visited the new Parkland location a bit after it opened, one of the first things I noticed was that it didn't look any bigger than the "too cramped" location that they had just moved out of. So, yes, the deal generally had an odor about it at the time, and it certainly seemed to many people like there was some special favoritism going on, to benefit the new landlord.

For some reason, though, I think the name of Peter Fox was associated with the move, back at that time. (Besides working for Bear Stearns, franchising Jimmy Johns restaurants, being a real estate developer and working on the many other projects he currently spends his time on , Fox had been at the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs back in the Jim Thompson Administration and had a lot of friends in Springfield.)

But I think STM is accurate in what he wrote about the current ownership of the building...at least based on what I could find in a few quick websearches.

 

Political Observer wrote on August 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm

If you just type "2401 W BRADLEY LLC" into a search engine, everything seems to lead to a person named Gary Declark in Lake Forest, IL, who's said to hold the role of Principal:


---------------------------     
   www.corporationwiki.com › Illinois › Lake Forest‎


IL - ‎Principal - ‎2401 W. Bradley, LLC
Mar 12, 2013 - Gary Declark is associated with 2401 W. Bradley, LLC with the role of Principal. and is located in Lake Forest, IL.
----------------------------------


But "2401 W. Bradley, LLC" also shows up in the IL state database of contracts as being associated with COLDWELL BANKER/DEVONSHIRE, so it looks like STM has hit the nail on the head once again:


----------------------------------


Agency:                         SECRETARY OF STATE
Contract #                     411PM022077     
Award Description:        EXEMPT - OTHER (SPECIFY EXEMPTION ON COD)     
Type Description:          LEASES FOR RENTAL OF REAL PROP
Class Description:        OFFICE, LABS O.T. FACILITIES     
Vendor:                         2401 W BRADLEY LLC     
Vendor Line 2:              COLDWELL BANKER/DEVONSHIRE REA     
From Date:                        07/01/2013     
To Date:                             06/30/2014     
Current Contract Amount      102,790.38     
Planned Contract Amount     734,368.74     
Current Expended Amount    0.00

Political Observer wrote on August 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm

As you can see from the data in the state database, the current contract amount for a one-year period of time is $102,790.38!

No wonder the state has trouble paying its bills!

(Just think how much it'd cost in rent to have a good drivers' license office, when this is the kind of politically-connected people you have to deal with as landlords!)   ;-)

Political Observer wrote on August 22, 2013 at 3:08 pm

As I mentioned above, that $102,790.38 figure is the amount of rent that the State of Illinois has to pay for the driver's license station at 2401 W Bradley for the current contract year, which is Fiscal Year 2014, which started this past July 1st and runs through June 30th of 2014.


If you repeat the search of the IL state database that I just did, but do it for earlier  fiscal years, here's what you get:


FY 2014   102,790.38
FY 2013     91,452.04
FY 2012    101,562.66


I have no explanation for why the numbers show around a 10% dip in the rent for FY 2013.  (Could Comptroller Judy Baar-Topinka have clipped a 10% off coupon from a real-estate advertisement for that year?...Heh-heh-heh!...These are her numbers, from her database, as she proudly lets us know on every page of the search!)

Political Observer wrote on August 22, 2013 at 3:08 pm

In case others might like to examine the state databank on their own to verify these numbers, or do their own searches on this or similar topics, it's quite an easy thing to do (although you may get different results, by doing your search different ways, as I found out, much to my surprise!)


I'll start by describing a general method, that I used to generate the numbers in the post above.  First, I just typed "2401 W BRADLEY LLC" into a search engine.  (I used Google, but feel free to use your own favorite search engine.  I included the quote marks around the phrase in the search query, because I wanted the search to locate that specific phrase, and not additional, irrelevant results that just happened to include some of the words that comprise the phrase.)


If you do this, you'll notice in the search results a number of entries that say things like "Next Record - The Ledger" or "Previous Record - The Ledger."  If you click on any one of these results, you'll find yourself at the state databank.  You might see "2401 W BRADLEY LLC" listed in the Column labeled, "Vendor, Line 2" for one of the rows of the table, but, if not, you can copy and paste it (without the quote marks surrounding the phrase) into the box labeled "Vendor Name," as the search query you want to locate in the state database.  (You'll note that in the drop-down box just to the left of the "Vendor Name" search query box, you have your choice of 2012, 2013 and 2014 as the Fiscal Years available for searches.)


And so, by entering these 3 fiscal years in 3 separate searches of the state database for the Vendor Name of 2401 W BRADLEY LLC, I generated the 3 different yearly rental rates that I listed in the post above.  (And as I mentioned there, I'm at a complete loss to explain the 10% dip in rent for the driver's license station at 2401 W. Bradley Ave. for Fiscal Year 2013...)

Political Observer wrote on August 22, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Now, at the risk of making you as confused as I currently am by the numbers in the state database of vendors, I'll give you a different way of searching the database, and show you that it gives you at least one different result (i.e. there is no longer a Fiscal Year 2013 dip in rent - somehow, it's mysteriously vanished!).

 
First, go to this link:


http://www.openbook.illinoiscomptroller.com


Next, copy and paste our familiar entry of 2401 W BRADLEY LLC in the search box, and then click the "Search" button.  The 2 search results that are returned (on the left side of the page) should be identical, so you can use a left-click of your mouse to check the box for either one, and then follow that up with another left-click of your mouse on the box labeled, "View Selected."


At this point, if you're like me, you can jump back from your monitor in surprise!  Instead of getting just 3 fiscal years of results, you get results for all state contracts going back to Fiscal Year 2003, in descending order (although not for the current year, FY 2014)!  Here's what I got:


FY 2013     $102,173.46
FY 2012     $101,562.66
FY 2011       $51,977.27  (Part 1)
FY 2011       $47,838.48  (Part 2)
FY 2011       $99,815.75   (Total)
FY 2010     $100,131.28
FY 2009     $100,619.11
FY 2008      $95,560.31
FY 2007      $54,964.30