Janesville74.3°

Knilans' basement bedroom passes muster

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JAMES P. LEUTE
January 13, 2011
— A city official has determined that the basement living quarters formerly occupied by Rep. Joe Knilans meets city codes for habitation.

Gale Price, the city's manager of building and development services, said the bed Knilans was using was located in a basement family room that had the required smoke detectors, heat source, egress and electrical outlets.


While the drywall walls were not taped and mudded, that is not a code requirement, he said.


Price inspected the property Tuesday and will mail a letter to the home's owner, Michael Knilans, outlining his determination.


In November, Knilans defeated incumbent 44th Assembly Rep. Mike Sheridan. At the time of the election, he was living outside the district, awaiting the sale of his house so he could move his family into the district.


After the election, Knilans leased space from his brother in order to comply with state law that requires a lawmaker to live in the district he or she serves.


Last week, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin filed a complaint with the state alleging Knilans was living in a basement that did not meet city codes.


Knilans subsequently moved out of his brother's home and rented an apartment in the middle of the district.


"I was doing everything by the law, and I will continue to do everything by the law," Knilans said Wednesday. "I did not deceive anyone, and I've been completely honest about this."


Knilans said he moved out of his brother's house to spare the family media attention. He said the move had nothing to do with a guilty conscience or the complaint from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.



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