TWO FOIA fails in two weeks

By:  Diane Benjamin

Almost every FOIA I file gets extended.  The law says they have to comply within 5 business days, but they can request a 5 day extension.  When 10 business days are given, it should be enough time to get it right.

Eventually it isn’t.

On November 20th I made this request:

I need to know who got the $187,712 worth of grants for the outside of their buildings.  That’s free money that somebody at the City picked who won and who lost out.

This is what a received last week:

Information is missing!

How much TIF money did each entity receive?  I requested amounts and didn’t receive them!

I notified the City Clerk, the person who sent me the FOIA, and Tari Renner on December 4th the information was incomplete.  I’m still waiting for a response.

This week I received strike #2:

If either Council decides to pass a “Welcoming Ordinance” they are violating Federal Law.  Criminal penalties do exist for anyone harboring a person here illegally.  If the Council decides to protect illegals by ordering the police to not contact ICE, they will be guilty of “harboring”.

That made me wonder what oath of office the mayor and aldermen took.  Last May 1st the newly elected Aldermen took the oath of office on video.  Nothing they swore to included verbiage to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.  Mboka  Mwilambe took the oath of office saying he was “appointed” rather than elected.  Just hit play below:


I wonder if that’s a legal oath of office? According to the Bloomington Election Commission, he was elected. Nobody in the room, not even MBoka, noticed the incorrect wording?  The Clerk was reading the text!

On November 27th I filed this FOIA request:

The PDF I received did not contain any documents from the Mayor.  Oaths of Office

This is where it gets interesting:

Jamie Mathy, Mboka Mwilambwe, Joni Painter, Scott Black, and Kimberly Bray signed this oath:

David Sage, Amelia Buragus, Karen Schmidt, and Diana Hauman signed this oath:  

The first group was just elected in April.

The second group was elected 2 years ago.

Illinois law only states the City has to have a written copy of the oath, it doesn’t specify what has to be in it.

So, somewhere between the 2 elections, City Hall decided the Constitution no longer applies to them.  

I still don’t know what oath, if any, Tari Renner signed.  It must be a secret.

What does “faithfully discharge the duties of the office” even mean?  Whatever they say it does?

I wonder who changed the oath?





7 thoughts on “TWO FOIA fails in two weeks

  1. It’s okay, Diane. I think you’re not dealing with the brightest bulbs considering the FOIA was prepared by someone that can’t spell “Bloomington” despite the spellcheck squiggly line beneath it. Haha! If these Downtown cry babbies invested half as much time and energy in their own businesses as they do lobbying Tari & Co. for our money, the area might actually be successful. Instead, they blame e-commerce and fiscal conservatives for their lack of success. Don’t worry though, Trish has a cushy city job and a bigger budget. How could she fail (again)?


  2. Since they DO NOT believe in the Constitution, does that make them ALL guilty of TREASON?
    To borrow from the MILITARY OATH” To protect from ALL enemies both DOMESTIC and FOREIGN”
    Maybe Constitution was too hard to spell the second time around??


  3. Makes me wonder how many elected and appointed peeps have taken the OMA training. That needs to be done within 90 days of election or appointment. Appointment to any public body. That includes appointments to committees. They can’t get the oath right so why would they bother with OMA training. My goodness, anyone can take it and it’s online. I just FOIA my small community on the OMA training. It was enlightening to say the very least.


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