The Gang that can’t shoot straight: $750,000

By:  Diane Benjamin

One overlooked fact:  Central Catholic is NOT in Bill Brady’s District!  They are represented by Jason Barickman.

Local City government loves back room deals, no risk of exposure since they are cozy with most of the press.  You won’t see the Pantagraph breaking news of corruption, in fact they cover it up.  Remember the art gallery in Renner’s City Office?  Tari knew he screwed up announcing the new art gallery, with art for sale, so he called in the Pantagraph to spin it.  No mention of the price list City Hall had for interested parties.  Watchdogs the Pantagraph isn’t!

WGLT posted an in-depth story on the Brady grant mess:

http://wglt.org/wireready/news/2014/11/04558_cc_football_field_web_162613.shtml

WJBC also posted a story:

http://www.wjbc.com/common/page.php?feed=141&pt=Bloomington%2C+CCHS+land+deal+runs+into+conflict&id=167121&is_corp=0

The Pantagraph didn’t get around to reporting anything until 7:30 last night.  Maybe they should have read the comments to their Monday night story about the Council vote.  Following up on the outrage of citizens is evidently beneath them.

Now Alderwoman Joni Painter says if she had known Alderman Jim Fruin was on the Board of Trustees at Central Catholic she would have voted no.  Really?  None of the other issues fazed you Joni?  (How about electing representatives next year capable of independent thought?)

  • $750,000 from a bankrupt state
  • $750,00 to buy 4 acres – $187,500 per acre
  • The city constantly complains about staff shortages, they really don’t need more park space?
  • The grant specifically names Central Catholic, a PRIVATE RELIGIOUS school
  • Jim Fruin’s more than 6 minute rant didn’t convince you he was biased?
  • The City will lose tax dollars, even more money since the 4 acres won’t be privately developed
  • You didn’t read that Coldwell Banker is handling the sale and Jim just happens to work for them?

What really hasn’t made the news is the actual vote.  Bloomington’s $175 per hour attorney, Jeff Jurgens, thought 2/3 of the Council had to approve it.  He later corrected himself.  Below is the video, Jurgens can be heard in the background.  Tari’s reaction that he may have to vote is priceless.  Keep in mind, this grant would never have been brought to the Council without the approval of Renner and Hales.  Obvious these 2 guys didn’t do their due diligence.  Renner and Hales have very little credibility left after this fiasco, especially closely following Paradigm.

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More fun facts:

The City of Bloomington bought 30 acres back in 2000 for McGraw Park.  They bought it from the Deneen family, the same seller’s of the 4 acres.  The cost in 2000 was $915,000 – $30,500 per acre.

The Deneen family gave Central Catholic 15 acres for the school in 1998.

McGraw Park was originally named Deneen Park.  It was changed in 2001 at the request of the former Mayor’s son.

All of the above was reported by the Pantagraph when it happened.

The Council meeting video is well worth watching, you can fast forward through parts.  Before voting to deny the liquor license to Smoke Rings, Mayor Renner again shows his incompetence.  Being that he IS the liquor commission, (https://blnnews.com/2014/11/11/renner-0-council-2/ )  he couldn’t understand why a vote was being taken to deny the license.  Defeat doesn’t sit well with him.  The discussion begins at 37:25.  Watching the discussions is the ONLY way to know who the aldermen really are.  Reading Pantagraph stories doesn’t do it.  Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

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