Is Coliseum Management giving Bloomington their share?

by:  Diane Benjamin

Operations of the Coliseum are extremely complicated.  Management hired by the City is operating some functions without any over-sight or accountability.  The taxpayers deserve to know the truth.

The City has a contract with Central Illinois Arena Management (CIAM) to run the daily operations.  The Coliseum Fund is audited by an independent auditing firm and a report is issued.  Don’t confuse getting audited with significant oversight.  Sikich, the auditing firm,  doesn’t look at every transaction.  In addition, they only report on Coliseum operations.  They DO NOT report on Concessions – a part of the Coliseum that grosses around $1,000,000 per year.  NOBODY is looking at how much money is generated and if the City is getting their cut as required by the contract.

Concessions are owned by BMI, essentially the same people managing the Coliseum – John Butler.  The City is supposed to receive 32% of the gross concession sales and another 15% of catering services.  Catering could apply to the Bud Lite Lounge, Suites, backstage revenue, and the Smoke House Cafe.  Much of this business is cash.  Since BMI is a private company, the City has no way of knowing what the Gross Sales are, how much is concessions, and how much is catering.  In other words, NO ONE at the City is assuring the City is gets their fair share.  There is no audit trail (the City is using) to hold BMI accountable.  BMI is on the honor system.  How do you think that’s working for taxpayers?  This business, in a taxpayer owned building, is NOT being audited by anybody!

Add to that a hockey team and bus company being run from the Coliseum, and CIAM (John Butler-Bart Rogers) has a sweet deal.  They are using City services like computers, phones and Internet and paying nothing for them.  They are running 2 businesses without having to worry about overhead.  How many other businesses can operate with no overhead?

The City of Bloomington should hire an Independent Arena Management Company to review Coliseum policies.  The contract with CIAM will expire in a few years.  CIAM is trying to put themselves in a position where the City can not replace them, like threatening to take the hockey team away to another league.  If the City just renews the contract without radical review and changes, the taxpayers lose.




4 thoughts on “Is Coliseum Management giving Bloomington their share?

  1. Also, they only advertise with one radio group in town which also shorts the taxpayers because it doesn’t optimize advertising of the events there.

    ROBERT REES / Program Director-Host / Cities 92.9 WRPW-FM / Contributor for / w: 309.888.4496 / c: 512.630.5320 /

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Looks to be another, we won’t ask questions if you just leave quietly. Another issue to bite the dust at taxpayer expense. Another issue that council does not have the time to pay attention to due to poor leadership from the mayor and a city manager that is constantly pursuing Agenda 21 protocols (while claiming transparency). All questions of authority are to be ignored.

    1. Most folks do not have a clue about Agenda 21! Or maybe they just don’t care. Bike lanes, sustainability are just the beginning.

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