Should Idaho Sell The French Fry King's Mansion?
Why doesn't the current Governor, Butch Otter live in the house? Otter, who was elected in 2006, has opted to stay on his ranch in Star, Idaho around 20 miles away. Some speculate that the reason he has decided not to move in is because he is already a little too familiar with the house, he was once married to the Simplots daughter Gay. Others say that Butch Otter happens to be an outdoorsman who prefers his expansive ranch where he can ride horses. He received a $4,500 monthly housing stipend until last March when the Simplot house was decided to finally be inhabitable by the state's governor.
Part of the big concern about keeping the house is the water issue. Because the grounds are mainly sprawling green lawns they've sucked out a tremendous amount of water, so much so that of five original wells on the property just two remain. There is talk of xeriscaping the lawn in order to conserve some water but that would also be another expense. Many in the state feel sentimental toward the Simplot's home and legacy, others say that Simplot himself, no stranger to frugality and sharp business moves, would want the state to sell it if his donation no longer makes economic sense.