By: Diane Benjamin
Last week I posted a story about documents I received showing concessions sales at the Coliseum from 2013 – 2015. https://blnnews.com/2016/08/26/bombshell-sit-down-before-reading/
I never would have received them if I hadn’t filed a lawsuit in 2015. The City of Bloomington did not suddenly discover problems existed when the new management took over. I’ve written stories for years about the Coliseum. Former Alderwoman Judy Stearns tried to get David Hales to investigate way back in 2014. Stearn’s comment and Hales’ promise to review are on the video in this post: https://blnnews.com/2016/08/26/bombshell-followup-revisit-april-14-2014/
Except for Aldermen Lower and Stearns, the City Council and Mayor Renner did NOTHING. David Hales never produced the promised investigation. Remember, this is 2014.
In January 2015 I filed a FOIA request for concession and payroll information from 2014. The City denied my request based on CIAM’s denial. I then filed a Request for Review with Lisa Madigan’s Public Access office. I received a response from them on February 25, 2015 saying they would investigate.
See their response here: 33370 FI let-1
The first page of the AG document has the timeline and background:
I knew the CIAM contract was up for renewal in 2016. When Lisa Madigan’s office didn’t issue a ruling by September, I filed the lawsuit.
This is the final version of the lawsuit that I will be filing soon: Benjamin vrs Bloomington-CIAM
Just to be clear, I’m not a lawyer – I represented myself in court Pro se.
I was really representing the taxpayers of Bloomington. My allegations against the City of Bloomington, David Hales, and Central Illinois Arena Management (CIAM) are spelled out in the lawsuit.
With the exception of Stearns and Lower, the Council never represented citizens in regard to the Coliseum. Alderman Joni Painter even claimed in an email to a citizens that this site is riddled with errors: https://blnnews.com/2015/10/28/alderman-painter-needs-to-explain-herself/
Alderman Painter gets her information from Renner/Hales. She obviously made no attempt to find out the truth herself. The same goes for the rest of the Council. The Council knew concessions were never part of the annual audit. It’s not difficult to see when nobody is checking on behavior, unacceptable behavior just might happen. They failed to protect taxpayer money!
Need a reason to change the Council? This is it.
Painter, Black, Mwilambwe, and Fruin are up for re-election next year. You deserve people who represent you, not the City. Painter has an opponent – Lupe Diaz. I hope people step up to run against the others.
Taxpayers deserve better.
My lawsuit is NOT over. Ask your Alderman why he/she doesn’t care about David Hales’ failure to manage the Coliseum. Ask why Hales never looked at concession reports. Ask why Hales was handed big raises anyway! Ask why they deserve your vote! Ask Renner why he isn’t responsible! He wants four more years as mayor.
Lots of things are happening behind the scenes. Still, it’s up to citizens to demand an investigation.
You know the facts now. Watch for people running for office, and maybe the media, to attempt a history re-write.
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