KATV’s Elicia Dover reports:
One of Arkansas’ top elected officials spent $56,315 redecorating his office since taking the position in January 2015. When Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan first moved into his office, he told Channel 7 News that he planned to rip up the carpet in his office and restore the wood floors underneath, but would not do much else.
“Maybe a little touch up painting here and there, but nothing major,” Milligan said.
“No major overhaul, change up the furniture or anything like that?” Channel 7’s Elicia Dover asked.
“No ma’am,” Milligan answered.
Receipts show the office began purchasing new furniture a few weeks later. Milligan’s office ordered more than $25,000 in furniture in January 2015. Then in March, Milligan’s office hired a high-end interior decorator to remodel the office.
With the designer’s remodel of the office, including furniture for the conference room and his office and custom frames and flags, the cost to taxpayers was $56,315.
Milligan refused to speak to Channel 7 News about the spending, but instead sent his spokesman to show the new office decor and explain the expenses.
“Things were old, worn, some were broken,” Milligan spokesman Grant Wallace said.
“What do you think someone would think about that price tag? A taxpayer…” Dover asked.
“Well and you have to keep that in perspective with the overall budget. That’s less than half of a percent of our overall budget,” Wallace said.
“Is this more of a stylistic choice?” Dover asked.
“No again, I think chairs and things like that, I think it wasn’t ‘Hey, we just wanted to change style.’ We’re getting a good quality. Those chairs were worn and needed to be updated,” Wallace said.
“Do you think there would be people that would say, the office was good enough?” Dover asked.
“Well yeah, and I understand and appreciate that perspective. I do also understand that we host high level meetings with bankers and members from across the country. There is an expectation,” Wallace said.
Watch Part 2 of Dover’s report below in which she uncovers thousands of dollars of additional spending that includes Christmas decorations, gold pens for senior staff, a fully-stocked kitchen, and personal items for Milligan, including specially-ordered leather items. No other constitutional officers spent in similar fashion.