Pantagraph investigates?

By:  Diane Benjamin

Since the Pantagraph has a policy against investigating anything, I was shocked they investigated travel expenses in Bloomington, Normal, and the County.

See their story here:  http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/government-and-politics/on-the-road-officials-travel-differs-in-style-frequency/article_8d3d238b-2be3-5454-8d28-19045f8639f7.html

I FOIA’d all three for the exact information the Pantagraph received.

One item they reported for Bloomington caught my attention:

mealsBloomington requires receipts for meals?  Funny how the FOIA didn’t include a single meal receipt.  It did include this:

flatThis shows a meal allowance of $426 for 6 days – Tari Renner, National League of Cities.

Every event anyone traveled to included one of these slips.  The HIGH amount was always used to calculate the allowance.  Further down the page it shows a check was written to Tari for $426.00:

checkaIf you aren’t appalled at $426 for food for 6 days, it gets worse.

At least two meals were included with the conference.  The agenda included isn’t very specific, but two are listed:

breakfast lunchScott Preston is under investigation for the same thing!  Charging meals to his expenses when the events he attended included them!

How did the Pantagraph miss that?

The City did charge back Renner for tiny gift shop purchases however.

The FOIA request doesn’t include the $3500 Renner spent going to Cuba.  I wonder if he got paid $71 a day for food to a country where the cost of eating isn’t close to Washington DC?

(FOIA filed)

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Comments

  1. $71 a day for meals? $38 a day for dinner? $20 for lunch? Talk about gold-plated travel!

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  2. Theft. Plus, where are the receipts to back up what he actually spent? $200 a day for lodging? I guess so, in Washington DC, but don’t these so-called conferences get a bargain rate?

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    • I do have the hotel receipts. They don’t hold these conferences at economy hotels – only the best. The files I have are huge, so I couldn’t upload them. I still have more years to go through, but unlike the Pantagraph reporter, I don’t get paid for it. That means I will get to it eventually.

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