By: Diane Benjamin
If Paradigm ever returns, all the emails I received from the Town of Normal under the Freedom of Information Act will be reevaluated, but for now I’m done reading somewhere near 600 pages.
The FOIA request I submitted was for all emails during 2014. One email from Paradigm President and CEO, Allen Robinson, said the deal was started in 2011. I saw a large flurry of emails starting in February and continuing even after the joint Council session October 21st. The lawyer fees incurred by Paradigm, The Town of Normal, and the City of Bloomington had to be astronomical. Many emails referred to meetings taking place and changes to the numerous agreements. Gov. Quinn’s office was involved too, a FOIA to him claimed my request was an undue burden. The Illinois EPA was also involved, I believe they wanted to require a bond to cover cleanup costs if Paradigm went belly up.
The emails I received were in no particular order. If I was going to write a book I would have printed all the pages and put them in order. Since I’m not writing a book, I gleaned the emails I found interesting. I’m going to print some I found interesting. I think they will tell the story of Paradigm’s demise. There might be one more post today with a few more.
The whole project was very complicated. Robinson was living in England, and he had personal problems of his own. The number of lawyers involved and the completely inexperienced staff in both cities made putting the project together impossible. I don’t understand why the landfill wasn’t contacted directly, other than Paradigm expected to be paid for taking raw materials. A location for the plant was difficult to tie down, then a lessee for part of the plant decided they weren’t interested. Council members weren’t on board because they weren’t in on the negotiations from the beginning. Fiasco is too mild a description for the entire process.
Below are some of my picks:
Joint session was October 21st.
This one shows changes to the agreements close to the Joint Council date:
Mike Matejka got the Governor involved:
This email is from a week before the Joint Session.
Obviously the project was falling apart before October 21st.