Front & Center

By:  Diane Benjamin

The City had no problem with massive legal fees fighting the arbitrators ruling on Scott Oglesby.

The City had no problem with big legal fees to put Paradigm together before the citizens knew Bloomington was even involved.

The City has no problem sending $50,000-$60,000 a month to the Springfield law firm for legal services.

The City has no problem hiring law firms in Peoria and Chicago and sending them money too.

Since legal fees haven’t stopped the City in the past, the reason Tari doesn’t want a fight with the Huffs to force compliance over building codes isn’t legal expenses.  He want a hotel now.  The Giebelhausen deal is the fast track.

Front and Center seems like a slam dunk case.  Take the judge/jury on a tour of the building.  Show them how long it has been an eyesore.  What grounds do Huffs have for non-compliance?  They have owned the building for at least 10 years!  Evidently friends of government don’t get treated the same as regular people.  Tari wants his hotel now and he’s running out of time.  He would rather spend AT LEAST $8.2 million and hope everything works out.  Taxpayers being on the hook is immaterial.

The City held the Front and Center building as collateral for a $1.1 million dollar loan for construction on the Ensenberger condos.  The $1.1 M was due by 1/01/07 if the condos were not complete.  Mysteriously the loan was released on 9/11/07.

On 8/18/2005 the City of Bloomington loaned Huffs 1.1 Million and took the Front and Center Building as collateral.  Link to Recorder’s Document:  Collateral

On 9/11/2007 the mortgage was released – signed by Stockton – it says by order of the Council.  I reviewed the proceedings for 3 meetings prior to this document, I can’t find where the Council voted to release the Front and Center Building.  Council proceedings can be found here:    Link to release:  Release

Aldermen Sage, Schmidt, and Fruin were on that Council – maybe they know.

Did the Huffs get $1.1 million for free already?

On 8/4/2009 CEFCU loaned Huffs $1.2 Million for Construction.

On 4/9/15 CEFCU loaned Huffs another $794,233.07, Front and Center being part of the collateral.  Note:  that was LAST month!    Suddenly Ensenberger condos are being advertised again, Front and Center remains dead.

What does CEFCU know that taxpayers aren’t being told?

Tari is willing to gamble with your money.  Tari wants to control what happens downtown.  He wants only projects that meet his approval.  Private investors need not apply for permits if they don’t meet Tari’s vision.  Risking millions of taxpayer dollars is preferred.

The Front and Center building is assigned at least 49 pin numbers for tax purposes.  Tari claims the building is worth $3 Million (WJBC radio interview).  It appears to me the total building is being taxed as worth less than $1 Million, maybe much less.  (I’m not looking up 49 pin numbers!)  Considering the building is presently unusable and boarded up, why is Tari claiming it is worth $3 million?

Reading old Council meeting proceedings is revealing.  Extensive work was done to Holiday pool in 2007.  The west side empty fire station was bid, it came in too high.  Instead of re-bidding they just eliminated some square feet.  The City has new leadership in virtually every department.  People were brought in from all over the country to fill these positions instead of promoting from within.  These managers know nothing about past proceedings or mistakes that were made.  Is the City now doomed to repeat them?








7 thoughts on “Front & Center

  1. I see where the bird cage liner of a newspaper reported the whining of Jamie Mathy yesterday as the consensus. Kind of bold on the part of the bird cage liner. Oh well too bad. If you don’t like it then move. Just another mayor professor friend. I haven’t checked to see if they are Facebook buddy’s too.

    From the comments posted it didn’t appear to be a consensus to me. Maybe in the eyes of mayor professor and his cell mate David Hales. Probably no telling how many illegal back room meetings and hand shakes are being committed on this deal.

    Yeah what does CEFCU know. If I was a member of CEFCU I’d be asking questions.


  2. From your comment, “The City has new leadership in virtually every department. People were brought in from all over the country to fill these positions instead of promoting from within.” Obviously there is one big reason for this which is that Hales has brought in HIS OWN people. That is those who are predisposed to think like him and/or concede to his wishes due to the fact that he got them in and he can get them out. Further the long time department heads had community ties that these new folks don;t have. If they have any allegiance at all it is to those that hired them. So Hales has brought in his people and sent our people packing. Yeah sure they get their retirement packages which will serve them well but from what I hear, many of them were (for lack of a better word) forced out. This is a part of the culture change that Renner talked about when he was first elected. Transparency I guess is when it is easy to see through you Tari because most of you wheeling and dealing is surely taking place behind closed doors. In the professor’s own words, “I don’t know why anyone would trust an elected official.”


  3. I just had to laugh on what this blogger posted on the bird cage liner paper. What ID10T’s there are out there to believe what they write. I can name a few other lost cause buildings too, Funk’s Seed, Eureka Williams. Hmm not strategic buildings I guess. Maybe this poster should have been reminded of the Coachman Hotel site pie in the sky dream that the city had too.

    wswsr – 18 hours ago
    the building/block has got to go
    we cant stick our heads in the sand because of all the financial wows
    bloomington’s downtown must be invested in and is critical to strengthening the local economy
    getting rid of strategic blighted buildings is important to growing and attracting economic growth


  4. Taken from an article written by Tyler Durgen, “The only people getting rich from the dream are the ones who made it up.” Well said, to the point. In other words it’s the same old story of follow the money. Great quote though!


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