Jesse Ventura closes his mansion in anger

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The Independent Online

The faux Tudor mansion that has been the official residence of the Governor of Minnesota for decades is about to be closed by its current tenant, the former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura.

Mr Ventura plans to vacate the house in protest at budget cuts forced on his office this year by the state legislature.

He has, in truth, mostly lived in his ranch in Minneapolis since being elected as Governor four years ago. But he used the official residence for formal meals and receptions. Now he is laying off its staff, and the removal men were in yesterday to take away privately donated paintings and furniture.

Mr Ventura, who must soon decide whether to seek re-election this autumn, said he had no choice after the state legislature trimmed $1.3m from his budget. Critics say he is violating the state constitution.

The 1910 house, which sits on a road lined with mansions, including one that was home to the writer F Scott Fitzgerald, was given to the state by the father of 83-year-old Olivia Irvine Dodge. "This gift that we thought would be of great benefit to the state is being tossed back and forth between the legislature and the governor like a football," Ms Dodge said.

Some members of the legislature are threatening to sue to have the mansion reopened. No one seems happy with what has happened. "This thing has got way out of hand," Minnesota's Attorney General, Mike Hatch, said. "We are a dysfunctional government right now."

Mr Ventura is not alone in rejecting accommodation meant for elected officials. Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York, prefers the comfort of his East Side apartment to Grace Mansion, nowadays only used for functions.