Lawsuit: Benjamin vrs City of Bloomington

by:  Diane Benjamin

Transparency in Bloomington means City Hall decides what they want you to see, then they celebrate posting documents they claim you want to see.

Mayor Renner has an agenda from which he plans to take no detours.  He doesn’t care what you think and he doesn’t like being challenged.  Many of the Council members are the same.  These elected officials have a public persona and a very different one in private.

Bloomington has denied access to many emails requested by me under the Freedom of Information Act.  In the past I have filed a Request for Review with Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s Public Access Office when I am confident the emails were illegally denied .  Filing with Lisa Madigan has turned into a joke.  Instead of protecting citizens, it can take months or years for them to conclude even the easiest investigation.  Justice delayed isn’t justice.

The Freedom of Information law provides another remedy, filing a court case.  Today I will file with the Circuit Court of McLean County.  I didn’t do this lightly, after all it cost me money to file against a city I don’t live in.  Last week I gave the new City Attorney Jeff Jergens one last chance to follow the law:


This email needs one correction.  The Edgar County Watchdogs are up to 70 elected officials removed from office.

Jergens requested more time, so I gave him until 5:00 last night.  I received this email from him:

Jerg2Interesting Points:

  • Jergens did not say I didn’t have a case
  • Jergens is holding to false idea that expressing an opinion in an email means it doesn’t have to be released
  • Renner and Jergens are trying to stall because they don’t believe I will file in court
  • Attorney Jergens and Bloomington City Attorney Rosalee Dodson(she signed the denials) are risking their law licenses by providing false legal advice

Laws matter.  In Illinois they are bent and broken repeatedly by elected officials.  Nothing in Illinois will ever change unless local officials are held to the law.  Since the local media doesn’t do it’s job, its people like me that must.






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