Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Texas taxpayers pay nearly $10,000 per month for Gov. Rick Perry's temporary home

Governor settles on temporary mansion

Sept. 26, 2007

Houston Chronicle
Copyright 2007

Link: Copy of Gov. Rick Perry's lease

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry's new home, a four-bedroom white rock house with a pool and a guest lodge on several acres west of downtown Austin, is in a gated community called the Estates Above Lost Creek.

You'll be paying $9,900 a month in rent for the place while the Governors Mansion undergoes extensive repairs, Perry spokesman Robert Black said today. There's a one-year lease with a month-to-month option after that.

The house is valued at more than $1 million by the Travis County Appraisal District, Black said. One asking price found for it online was $2.1 million.

The home is owned by Murrell J. Campbell, but the transaction was managed by Campbell's daughter and son-in-law, Melinda and Guy Grace, Black said.

Grace has given $2,500 a year to Perry since 2005, but "other than that, there is not a relationship between the two," Black said.

"This house was found just like anyone would find a house," Black said.

Anyone who gets a recommendation from his chief of staff, that is.

Perry's chief of staff, Brian Newby, knew a Realtor "and it went from there," Black said. It was among about a half dozen properties that Anita Perry, the governor's wife, and Perry's security team looked at before making a choice.

"Security was one of the driving factors," Black said.

The guest house will be for staff and security, he said. It is on a little more than three acres, and security and other vehicles will be accommodated without parking on the street.

The cost of renting the house is factored into the $10 million budgeted for the Governors Mansion repair project, which was announced in late August and could take about a year and a half. The mansion has problems with plumbing, rotting wood, lead paint and asbestos. It has no fire sprinklers and isn't energy efficient.

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