Destihl responds to my story

See this story:  https://blnnews.com/2016/10/07/seriously-kyle-ham/

This is an email I received in response – let me know your thoughts:

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I have seen your article, and contrary to your false accusations, we have been counting on and budgeting for the enterprise zone’s state sales tax benefits on construction materials since we started planning and budgeting for our project.  The process of getting the new zone approved has been going on for months, and we have lost thousands of dollars in potential one-time sales tax benefits from the State of Illinois due to the State’s long delays in approving and processing the new zone.  We did in fact need the zone when we started the project given the financing limits, lender covenants and the cost of the project, but we could not delay the project either while waiting for the new zone so that we could get the construction far enough along before the weather changes this fall.  Everything is more complicated that it may seem from the outside. As a result, we have had to reduce the scope of our project from the dollar amount you have stated in your article, and every day that passes without the new zone being processed reduces our budget all the more.
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The purpose of the zone is to provide state sales tax benefits to bring economic growth and jobs to our community versus elsewhere in the state (or out of state), so it is baffling that such goals for our community are not important to you.  To do a project of this size involves great financial risk, and the zone simply reduces some of that risk for the start up of a new project in our community.   We could have chosen to do this project elsewhere or even out of state, but the new zone was one factor that enabled us to do it here.
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In any event, to say that we ‘never planned on getting any benefits’ from the new enterprise zone is absolutely false and is outright defamation toward our private business.  You should have fact-checked that allegation and information with our company before publishing such false accusations, and we hereby demand an immediate apology and retraction of your statements to the contrary.  Please confirm that you will do so before we consider any other possible recourse with our legal counsel.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this regard.
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Matt Potts

Chief Executive Officer/Brewmaster
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Comments

  1. The Brewery did come before the Council in March 2016 to request an amendment to the EZ ordinance for inclusion of the property in Normal. Given that, it can be assumed Destihl was requesting financial assistance at that time. Perhaps if the Pantagraph had reported with more clarity, there would not be any misunderstanding now about Desthl’s intentions for the use of EZ tax abatements.
    http://www.cityblm.org/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=10015 page 347

    Nobody is perfect. Misunderstandings happen. That is why apologies and forgiveness are sometimes necessary to clear the air. It is a personal decision, however.

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  2. You could just tell him not to worry. According to Scott Black, “nobody of note pays attention” to what you write anyway. LOL! And we’re all deplorable anyway, so what’s he care?

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  3. Times are tough for me too! Can I get a handout?

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  4. This is not free enterprise. Government has no business in any business. Ever. Mr. Potts, if you can’t afford “this project” with your own resources, don’t do it. Why should it be done on the backs of taxpayers. We are sick of being triple taxed to death. We pay taxes on what we EARN (without Government help!), we pay taxes on everything we purchase with the money we earn, and we pay taxes in the form of higher prices for commodities, because YOUR taxes are passed along to us. Yet you want us to subsidize your profits. Go to hell. Man up. Make money the old fashioned way. Earn it.

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    • Wow, you said it best. That took the words right out of my mouth. I agree 100%.

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    • Everyone is looking for a break tax-wise. Destihl isn’t some mult-national
      Fortune 500 company. I prefer the smaller companies get the tax breaks. As long as they are creating jobs and not merely taking the money to pad their retirement funds. More power to them.

      That being said, I don’t think bringing up defamation was called for. I think if you got the facts mixed up, I doesn’t require a threat of legal action. A request to correct the story is more appropriate. It doesn’t appear you are trying to smear them, I think they take issue with the opposition to the EZ. If you were saying that the CEO bribed a government official when he clearly didn’t for example. Than that is a different story.

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  5. Should have checked with legal counsel before replying with an email in my opinion.

    Yes people do make mistakes and cordially asking for an apology seems to be fair enough. Sending an email I would never do, especially in an electronic email now that is available to disseminate to the public. You never know how others will react to it or read into it like arrogance, cocky, and conceited are a few words that come to mind.

    Oh it was a number of years ago I remember getting this certified letter from a local business owner. Quite a letter he wrote to me. I wish I still had it to put into here. I politely took it to a lawyer and told him you deal with this because I am not responding. On the flip side I got the apology not him. Hmm I bet he learned his lesson.

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  6. Trying to decide which is worse. Destihl’s ignorance in going forward with a project they couldn’t afford just hoping things would turn out in their favor OR the idea that they are somehow more special than other businesses. Bad business practices either way.

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  7. Well I don’t see any false accusations nor do I see any defamation towards Destihl. Your article was directed at Kyle Ham pushing for the tax breaks. I think Mr. Potts over reacted and I think that Mr. Potts is attempting to defend his position of seeking the tax breaks.
    In addition to risk the move forward without having all of your ducks in a row first, is your risk and I’m not feeling it for you Mr. Potts. You knew the risk going in. Times are rough all over.

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  8. By “reducing his risk” the citizens then assume the reduction. If they fail we have to make up for the taxes in other areas. Saying they aren’t trying to benefit is laughable. The benefit of the business is the whole point of the EZ. Tell him to go pound sand.

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  9. My first thought was that Renner is behind that email. He would take any reason to silence you.

    While I don’t like tax breaks for businesses, the reality is that you can’t get kids to build a neighborhood lemonade stand without promising tax breaks. I think Destihl is just angry because they are actually creating jobs in this business hellhole of a state and not getting credit for it. Threatening legal action is in no way warranted though. Did you threaten legal action when the Pantagraph messed up their reporting of the meeting you just went to? I say print a correction in very small font at the bottom of your site.

    Incidentally, this is more evidence in favor of businesses paying no taxes. If they don’t pay taxes there is no way to bribe them. And, business taxes hide the true cost of government within the prices of the goods and services we buy.

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  10. It appears Mr. Potts was and continues to be undercapitalized depending upon taxpayers to subsidize his business.

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  11. Ron Schultz says:

    Thanks for the chance to read the reply. Unfortunately, my admiration for Destiel  is no longer. Somehow I thought they were a group choosing to ignore the government tit.I guess the trend now is to suck the tax payer as dry as possible in hopes he has enough left over to spend on the vampire.Thanks again for the info. Unfortunately the attitude in the letter is very disappointing and in poor taste.I assure you I will keep their demeanor and poor attitude in mind going forward!!!  

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    • Ditto. You said it well and I will also will no longer be a patron. I too believed (based on Diane’s reporting) they were true entrepreneurs that were moving forward without asking for a handout. This letter showed their true colors.

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  12. The only part you should add an addendum to: they are counting on tax breaks. Mr. Potts and his business started the project without the zone being approved. That is the truth.

    Rather than respectfully email you to discuss the story, he wrote a very poor email that will end up costing him business and make him look bad.

    Is Mr. Potts willing to open his books to you to prove he successfully used any tax breaks to actually provide new, well-paying jobs?

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  13. sticky bean says:

    Although I believe that the email from Matt Potts was ill advised, I will continue to be a patron due to the fact that they provide a quality product and good service at competitive prices.

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  14. Some questions for Mr. Potts:

    1.) Where did you purchase your construction materials from? What it in McLean County?
    2.) Where are the laborers working on your project from? Are they primarily from McLean County?
    3.) How many new jobs will you be providing above what you currently provide through your operation? Are you willing to guarantee that number at a minimum?
    4.) Are you willing to guarantee those jobs are a certain level of pay? I think most people would know that giving away millions in tax breaks isn’t going to be offset by creating two decent-paying jobs and 10 part-time minimum wage jobs.

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  15. I guess this doesn’t count either since taxpayers are paying for this instead of letting local providers not being allowed to bid on this. FREE!

    Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network will offer gigabit fiber-optic internet to the new Destihl brewery at 1200 Greenbriar Drive and to surrounding areas after the Normal City Council approved Monday spending $67,000 on local network infrastructure. It’s expected to be installed next month.

    “Destihl representatives contacted (CIRBN) to see if its… network was available at their new location on Greenbriar, and if not, could it be extended and made available by mid-October,” according to a report from Normal Information Technology Director Teri Legner. “CIRBN contacted the town to see if it would be willing to consider taking on this extension as an economic development project.”

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