By: Diane Benjamin
It wasn’t that long ago the people in government in Logan County thought Bill Thomas was doing a great job with Economic Development. The Logan County State’s Attorney refused to act even with definitive proof of criminal activity – including grant fraud that led to the Atlanta Library being ordered to repay a grant. The Edgar County Watchdogs went around the State’s Attorney to the Secretary of State’s office who administered the grant.
The letter demanding the grant be repaid turned at least some people in government against Thomas. Last night the Logan County Board voted to end their $55,000 a year partnership with Thomas. The vote was 11 Yes, 1 abstention – the Board Chair. The County is continuing their association with an unaccountable group: Greater Peoria Economic Development Council. http://greaterpeoriaedc.org/about/
The Logan County Board chair, Chuck Ruben, is on their Board of Directors.
The McLean County Board passed a budget yesterday that decreased funding to the local Economic Development Council. Their funding went from $100,000 a year to $94,000. Maybe people here are starting to see government and their paid unaccountable contractors don’t produce prosperity.
Prosperity is only possible when people are allowed to spend their money where they want, not have it stolen by government. Local businesses will see what people need or want and fill that slot. Economic Development Councils mean negotiating subsidies and tax breaks for investors who see free money. It’s not a sustainable model.
See the story the Watchdogs did a couple of days ago about Logan County’s vote: http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2017/11/logan-county-to-de-fund-economic-development-partnership-program/
Meanwhile, the Bill Thomas saga is far from over.
Thomas thinks he and the Library Board got out of legal trouble by his donating the Union Hall building last week he was trying to sell to the library just a few months ago. The Library requested a hearing with the State to try to get out of repaying the grant. According to the grant application, the library was supposedly buying Union Hall years ago to get the grant. We can’t wait to hear the Board’s explanation for attempting to buy the building this year when according to the grant application they already own it. Yes, we have minutes from this year.
The only question left it how many people Bill Thomas takes with him. See this article published today: http://newherald.news/atlanta-public-library-receives-gift-of-the-union-hall-building-p4261-103.htm
Is the media this clueless, or is the Thomas spin machine in high gear?
The people pictured with him have reason to worry.
The Thomas economic development plans also led Atlanta to spend $495,000 on 15 acres of farmland.
Thomas also gets unaccountable money from government and citizens through the Atlanta Betterment Fund.
Investigations aren’t close to over, but it does prove how Economic Development tax dollars are easily fleeced and why economic development should be left to citizens spending their own money.