SPRINGFIELD, -- Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has denied that personal friendships are driving his proposal to make the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum a separate state agency.
A House committee on Monday approved the Chicago Democrat's idea to break the decade-old institution off from the Historic Preservation Agency. The measure moves to the House floor.
Madigan confirmed he is a friend of library and museum director Eileen Mackevich and her longtime friend Stanley Balzekas. Balzekas runs a Chicago museum of Lithuanian culture and is landlord for Madigan's state office. But Madigan says he has not been lobbied by either.
Mackevich told the Chicago Sun-Times that the library and museum would be stronger as a stand-alone agency. She says she has no personality clash with Preservation Agency director Amy Martin.