What happened in Court

By:  Diane Benjamin

Yesterday the judge heard arguments on the Motions to Dismiss filed by both CIAM and the City of Bloomington.  Both want this case to go away before I find anything else.  The contract calls for the City to receive 15% on catering – to date I have NO catering information, especially backstage catering.  I have some event reports provided to me by a whistle-blower.  Just from one event the City should have been paid $579.00.  Imagine what the total is for the 10 years CIAM managed the arena.

I also have no payroll information.  The contract states the Coliseum must have one full-time manager.  Instead, CIAM had two – both with other jobs.  Taxpayers should know how much they paid themselves.

Keep in mind, this is all the City of Bloomington’s fault!  They failed to supervise the building they forced the taxpayers of Bloomington to pay for!

CIAM’s attorney actually stated that money raised at the Coliseum isn’t taxpayer money!  They managed the building pretending they had no responsibility to create a return for the people who own the place.  CIAM believed that since they controlled the venue, all income belonged to them.  Everybody else was expected to believe CIAM was completely honest and paid the City according to the contract.  I’ve already proven that didn’t happen.

The City wants the court to believed the concession reports already released are the only reports possible from the Micros system paid for by taxpayers.  If you haven’t seen the reports:    http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=11173

The City bought the original Point of Sale equipment:

micros001 The court is expected to believe the City paid more than $48,000 for software only capable of printing a cash register receipt!  The judge wouldn’t let me talk about the “event reports” I have, she called them hearsay.  At the last hearing she stated we weren’t at the proof stage yet, so I’m lost on why I had to prove a source at this point.

The hearing went on until almost 5:00pm.  The judge is going to contemplate the evidence and issue a ruling by EMAIL.

CIAM’s attorney’s should be thrilled, they are collecting tons of billable hours!  They again had two lawyers in court, the City only had one – from Springfield.

I would have loved to have a lawyer, but no local lawyers will take the case.  Most locals don’t know municipal law.  Ones that do have to be careful what cases they take.  What Bloomington-Normal has is a small cabal of lawyers and judges that are all interconnected.   I did talk to a lawyer in Springfield who informed me after several weeks he didn’t have time to take the case.  Another Chicago lawyer contacted me and asked if I needed help.  He never mentioned my need to sign a contract until the day one of my filings was due.

Is justice possible for taxpayers?  I don’t know.  I have no idea if the State Police are still investigating CIAM.  I have no idea if they looked at concessions.

One of CIAM’s lawyers made a snide comment about some people (meaning me) believing government shouldn’t be involved in economic development.  He failed to realize CIAM and the Coliseum are the poster child for economic development incompetence.

I saw this on Twitter and totally agree:

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Comments

  1. So, the City and CIAM are claiming they don’t have to give you the financial documents you originally requested through FOIA? What exactly are they trying to dismiss? Is it that your petition to the court for those documents is not allowed under the law?

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    • They are claiming the micros reports I already have satisfy the FOIA. I didn’t know the reports I received even existed, my claim to micros report was totally different, but that’s what the judge won’t let me use as evidence. Nothing about payroll has been addressed.

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  2. drummer1260 says:

    I sat in on what I believe to be the majority of the hearing yesterday. I would love to have CIAM obtain a copy of the transcript and try to reduce their attorney billing by the number of “Um”, “Uh”, “Er”, “Um Um Um”, “Um Uh”, etc…. I was flabbergasted at the pure volume of wasted air coming out of their attorney’s mouth!
    It sounds as if the Complaints were not perfectly executed (filed) and were “ambiguous.” In the future, please consider asking “specifically” what is needed, i.e. “Any and all monthly and/or bimonthly payroll statements including but not limited to salaried, hourly and contract employees for the period of time between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014. These statements should include days and hours worked, any and all withholdings, overtime hours claimed, etc….

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  3. lucy goose says:

    Your comment “no local lawyers will take the case” should be an indication to you that you do not have a case and they do not want to waste their time. Why didn’t you sign with Chicago attorney if you feel so strong about your accusations? Do you expect pro bono representation? Our city deserves better than a witch hunt.

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