The Corn Crib Fleece?

By:  Diane Benjamin

I reported in this story Heartland Community College pays the property taxes on the Corn Crib property:

I’ve been doing lots of research on where the Corn Crib originated.  In case you missed the latest news, only college kids will play at the Crib in the future.  Minor league baseball is gone.  (Sound like hockey at the Coliseum?)

The person to blame is Chris Koos:  PDF page 94

Remember when Heartland was conceived and they claimed they would never need a permanent building?  That wasn’t true, but it got worse when Dunham and Astroth strayed from affordable education into athletics.

More from the same link:

At least the sports complex consultant Koos is still playing with said up-front it would lose money!

More from the link above:

That’s $5 million taxpayer dollars invested in another failed project.  

If charging to park for minor league games was ridiculous, thinking anybody will pay to park at a college game is lunacy.  I think I need to FOIA how much of the $1.5 million Normal taxpayers invested has been recovered.

According to this story: Normal Professional Baseball protested the property tax assessment and got it reduced by $1.4 million.  I have a FOIA request pending for the agreement between Heartland and Normal Professional Baseball, I do know that Heartland wrote the check for property taxes.

Taxes are currently being paid on:  Taxable Value $406,446 x 3.33 = Total Value $1,353,465

We know $5 million has been invested, but property taxes only reflect payments on $1,353,465.

It gets worse though!

Busey bank loaned $11,000,000 to Normal Professional Baseball in 2009.  Busey Bank loan

There is nothing on the County Recorder’s website showing a release, so the loan is not paid off.

According to this document:  Real property

“The Team” looks to have invested at least $11 million in the stadium and other improvements AND nobody is paying property taxes on the improvements!

Note:  When other people aren’t paying their share everybody else pays more!

According to this story from October 4th, 2018:

The Cornbelters had a total attendance of 860,830 in 9 years.  In the new league they will play fewer games and total attendance will obviously decrease.  Normal won’t be able to recoup their investment without parking.  Normal Professional Baseball expenses will decline since they don’t have to pay players, but will it be enough to pay Busey?  Paying back Busey requires revenue.  College baseball will provide that?

It could be getting even worse:

On the agenda for the October 16th Heartland Board meeting was this item:


Anybody else worried you will soon own a Busey loan courtesy of a junior college with declining enrollment?

If HCC does buy out Normal Professional Baseball it will prove government isn’t capable of creating successful projects.  We have yet ANOTHER failed project done with your money.  All taxing bodies will be out the property tax revenue, HCC can make it exempt as part of the school.  Your taxes will increase to compensate.

People with brains should be collecting signatures to run for the Board NOW (elections next April).  This is what happens when people with agendas get themselves elected and nobody is paying attention.

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17 thoughts on “The Corn Crib Fleece?

  1. I sure would like to see some people end up in jail someday for all the chicanery going on around here.

  2. Excellent work! And another depressing example of Heartland’s profligate spending.

    one small note The correct multiplier is 3 not 3.33. Property is assessed at 1/3 of fair market value. The reciprocal of 1/3 is 3.

      1. 1/3 = .333 repeating and 3 x .3333… = 1 Fair market value x 1/3 = Assessed value and by definition Assessed Value x 3 = Fair market value
        Still skeptical? Plug 250,000 in Fair Market and work it forward and backwards with a calculator. Try again with 3.33 instead of 3.

        1/3 is an arbitrary number designed to hide the tax burden and makes it more difficult to recognize when something is under accessed. This confusion may be why they use 1/3 rather than some other fraction.

  3. This is just another in the trail of disasters that the leadership in this area has embarked on with public money. As our economy continues to erode, the consequences of what these idiots have done is going to magnify what is ahead. All this and Koos and Company embark on Upscale Normal 2.0?

  4. The deck is stacked. The HCC board is full of establishment “go along to get along” cronies. They’ll spend taxpayer money to cover their tracks and that of Koos. The establishment thinks HCC is a pillar of this community and heaps praises upon its leaders who have spent our money running it into the ground. There’s never any questions raised about spending or value. Enrollment will never recover, as the area population has declined and will continue to decline. As well, people are questioning the value of a college degree, especially from lower tier schools. This won’t end well.

    1. This will become a financial albatross that will make the Coliseum boondoggle look small by comparison. They have build and staffed a monster that will become increasingly obsolete and burn through money at an unsustainable rate.

  5. Just another example of VOTE! If you dont get out and vote the same old gang will continue to waste tax money: YOUR MONEY!

  6. How is Little League doing around here? I suppose in a few more years the Corn Crib could become a totally AMAZING venue for the local Little League teams…or T-Ball…after the spend a few million sizing it down a bit.

  7. Spend a few bucks and put a roof over the place. Year round professional bicycle racing. We already have miles
    of practice courses/lanes in our Siamese Twin cities. Perhaps even demolition races using the thousands of Volkswagons parked a short distance away. Maybe some politicians could participate and destroy cars instead of destroying our country.

  8. The Corn Crib never had minor league baseball. They had independent league baseball. Minor league is affiliated with a major league club, the appeal there is going to see future major league players or the occasional current major league player who is doing rehab. Independent ball has no ties to MLB and thus far less appeal for spectators.

      1. The Peoria Chiefs is struggling financially, but the franchise is kept from failing. It is, after all, an official minor league team of the Cardinals. What makes the town of Normal think they can do better?

        Given that baseball has been slowly declining nationwide for the past twenty years, why did Normal make the foolish decision to build a baseball park?

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