By: Diane Benjamin
I wrote previously about filing a Request for Review with the Illinois Attorney General. Coliseum Management is refusing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act Request. Details here: https://blnnews.com/2015/02/06/coliseum-investigated-by-attorney-general/
As the Council considers spending another $2,510,00 on the less than 10 years old Coliseum, they need to consider how Central Illinois Arena Management views their job. Somehow they forgot they were hired as managers for a taxpayer owned facility. The Coliseum is exempt from property taxes because it is owned by the City of Bloomington, so obviously they are performing a government function. CIAM is not running a traditional business started with their own money, but CIAM is claiming a right to privacy as a private company. The Attorney General will rule on whether than can keep secrets.
I don’t see any references in the contract to BMI Concessions. John Butler (1/2 of CIAM) separated the rest of the Coliseum from concessions. The City bought the machines concession sales are entered on (Micros). John Butler refuses to allow the City or me see the reports generated by these City owned machines. The management contract calls for the City to be paid a specific percentage of all sales, the percent depends on where the sale was made. For example, General Stands are different from Suites. The City is also to be paid a percentage of catering.
Because Butler refuses to show anybody these reports, the City has relied on his word that the City is getting paid properly. Can John Butler be trusted? Review this post from January: https://blnnews.com/2015/01/20/more-coliseum-fraud/. For at least the last 3 years Profit/Loss reported by CIAM is much different from what the Auditors determined the actual number to be. Last year CIAM underestimated the loss by almost $600,000.
Obviously I don’t trust John Butler to have paid the City anywhere close to what they are entitled to. Why does City Manager David Hales trust Butler! Why isn’t the City Council holding Hales accountable for never reviewing concession reports? In the last few years the Coliseum Fund has been paid at least $250,000 per year, a lot of money is at stake. Are taxpayers being fleeced? Unless the reports are public documents, taxpayers will never know the truth.
Another part of my FOIA request was for the 2014 payroll. There are references in the documents below that the information may be available – without names. CIAM believes you don’t have the right to know who IS profiting from the City asset. Payroll has been at least $1,000,000 per year for many years.
The link below contains what I received yesterday from the Attorney General. Included is a letter from City Attorney Jeff Jurgens and 2 letters from CIAM’s lawyer, pretty fascinating reading. See for yourself: