By: Diane Benjamin
Yes the Coliseum is owned by the City of Bloomington, but that doesn’t make it legally exempt from property taxes.
Central Illinois Arena Management has exclusive management rights. BMI Concessions is NOT a party to the original agreement between the City and CIAM. Until I wrote about them, 2 other companies were being run out of the Coliseum: Winning Edge Transportation and Bloomington Junior Blaze (https://blnnews.com/2013/12/11/coliseum-bleeding-bloomington-taxpayers/)
Including CIAM, that makes 4 companies profiting from a taxpayer owned asset. Competitors pay property taxes, Coliseum businesses don’t, so they have an unfair advantage.
The income made by BMI Concessions is a secret. Income from the other 2 companies is also a secret.
We do know from the audited Coliseum reports, CIAM took $1,389,856 for the last 5 years in commissions and fees. https://blnnews.com/2015/03/10/more-coliseum-fraud-2/
During the same time period, the audited financial statement showed the following losses (without depreciation) See above link.
Total losses: <$1,316,259>
Add at least another $900,000 a year in depreciation for the true losses incurred.
State law says that exempt property leased to a business is not exempt from property taxes. The contract with CIAM calls them “managers”. What is the difference between leasing and managing? Both mean the occupant is running a business from the City asset. CIAM ran 3 businesses not party to the original contract. They continue to run BMI Concessions from the Coliseum. Why is a company not part of the original contract exempt from paying property tax?
Since CIAM and BMI Concessions do not pay taxes, your taxes are higher. Both aren’t funding schools, the library, roads, and all other spending your property taxes pay for.
CIAM has been managing for almost 9 years, the above is only for 5 years. They are making a lot of money and paying no property taxes in return.
Every level of government thinks they need more money. Here’s a no brainer. (at least to taxpayers)