In 2005 french fry king J. R. Simplot donated his home to the state of Idaho with the hopes that the luxury home on a hill with a view of Boise, Idaho, and 40 acres of grounds could serve as the governor's mansion. But five years later, Simplot has shuffled off this mortal coil (he died in 2008) and no one has moved into the house. The NY Times reports
that there is a possibility that the home could now be sold because as it is it remains a drain on the state budget, costing $125,000 last year to maintain with $72,000 of that to water the Kentucky bluegrass lawns. The home was not donated furnished. A $3 million fund-raising drive to renovate the house only raised around $400,000 which was enough to fancy up a few main rooms for public functions.
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.