Is Normal handing out a cheap lease?

By:  Diane Benjamin

This item is on the consent agenda, meaning unless it gets pulled there won’t be any discussion:

agenda lease

This is the space the engineering department used before moving to the space in 1 Uptown Circle which costs the Town $35,248.77 a month now (See PDF page 10).  Worse, the first floor of that building is STILL vacant – meaning the Town gets no Food and Beverage taxes to offset the rent.

Jump to PDF page 62:


  • Rent is only $100 a month for Suite 201
  • Taxpayers are paying $5,000 to extend the CIRBN fiber, if engineering previously had the space – it wasn’t already there?  At $100 a month, it will take 50 months for taxpayers to get their money back.
  • PDF page 62 says the lease is for 1 year, PDF page 64 says:  The term of the Lease begins on May 1, 2019 and continues through December 31, 2020.  (Duh, not 1 year)
  • Also on PDF page 64:  The Tenant will pay the Town a flat fee of $40 per month to cover water and sewer utility services.  Evidently they are entitled to unlimited water.
  • PDF page 62 states the lease is for Suite 201.  The Lease agreement on PDF page 64 does not make it clear if tenant is leasing 201 and 202 or just 201.
  • The documentation says this business will be “focusing on supporting business start-ups and will be functioning as a co-work space.”  Uptown already had one that failed.  The Chamber of Commerce already has a space and there is one in Downtown Bloomington.  Is this business going to charge for use of space while paying only $100 in rent?
  • The new Trail East building is supposed to have an ISU business incubator too

The plot thickens!  The tenant – THE STARTUP BOX, LLC – only incorporated on 4/9/2019.  Worse, guess what address they gave the State of Illinois as their corporate address?


It appears Clay Schumaker filed a fictitious address with the State since the Trustees have not yet approved the lease.  Note also it says #202.  It sure looks like Clay is getting two suites for $100 a month!

But, that’s still not all:

Refer back to PDF page 63 – 4th WhereAs:

whereas squareSuddenly the name of the tenant changed – Square Ninety.  So who is that?

sqare 90

Was the Town planning to lease under this name and realized somebody might think $100 a month for an existing company is suspicious?  Square Ninety has a Facebook page explaining who they are:

web designer

Who is actually renting the space?  Clayton Schumacher of Square Ninety or Clayton Schumacher of The StartUp Box?

One more:

Clayton lives at 920 S Fell.  Chris Koos lives at 1014 S Fell.  They probably never met though (cough).

This item needs to be pulled from the agenda and questions answered.  

Taxpayers own this property.  It is worth more than $100 a month – unless Mayor Koos wants to declare nobody is interested in renting property in Normal.


19 thoughts on “Is Normal handing out a cheap lease?

  1. Looks like another bogus Koos deal, no doubt about it. A dwindling kindom is creeping up on the old mayor probably trying to get some more crooked deals done before being ousted next run.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Where can I get an office for $100 a month with high priced CIRBN fiber already installed for nothing? Do I have to live near the Mayor? Sounds like I could start bottling and selling water on the side? Is the heat and electricity free too? I want a deal like this too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CIRBN was basically established to provide cheap connections for both the city and town. The company makes most of its money from contracts with local government. Local government is their primary client.


  3. I’d SURE like to own the “closed door” franchise in UPTOWN, because I’d be RICH!
    So they rent this out at $100 a month and pay HOW MUCH from # ONE UPTOWN plaza or whatever it’s called??
    MAYBE they should hire a consultant and find out what’s wrong with this picture??


  4. Here is what is on their Facebook page:

    We bring Fortune 500 experience to your mobile and web products.

    After years building software solutions for Fortune 500 companies, I noticed many startups and small businesses need professional development help, but aren’t being served by existing development firms. Often it’s hard for them to get time with a large development firm, or they don’t know where to start. So instead they settle for
    – Offshore development firms
    – Local students or amateurs
    – or try to do it themselves

    Square Ninety brings the same development services I have always provided to businesses of all sizes. We operate based on three principles:
    – Professional development using Agile practices
    – Precision over magnitude
    – Beauty in simplicity

    With these principles in mind I’m excited to build amazing things with you.

    Here is email address on the page: [email protected]

    They have an unfinished 1 page website:

    Square Ninety
    mobile | web | consulting
    I can help with your next thing:
    [email protected]


  5. So if I start a business and agree to pay $125 for the property and $45 for water are they obligated to rent the property to me as that would be in the best interest of the taxpayers?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d say if you’re willing to take it for free but not require the expensive internet upgrades, they should let you have it!


  6. We operate based on three principles:
    – Professional development using Agile practices
    – Precision over magnitude
    – Beauty in simplicity

    Where is “honesty”, “integrity”? Just askin’. The items above are not principles. They are what your business does, not how you operate it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What’s to stop any of these start-ups who get their start here in Normal from uprooting and moving elsewhere, especially to a more tax-friendly state? Does Normal give them everything at a very minute fraction of the cost until they hit it big?

    We have a lot of huge, expensive space going up in these buildings, and the only people seeming to rent the space are A.) the Town at a huge mark-up from market value. B.) Farnsworth, who got the 7-figure engineering proceeds, or C.) People paying below-market rent. It would be very nice to see who amongst private businesses is actually paying market rent for these spaces.

    I’d rather give more to Brandt to continue expanding high-paying jobs here or more to other businesses who are adding high-paying jobs than Portillos or the same handful of developers who give us space people don’t want.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of the primary “goals” of BN Advantage is to develop BN as a hotbed for business incubation. Members of its board think BN can be the next Austin, Texas or Seattle, Washington. This incident is just part and parcel of more like future arrangements. It doesn’t hurt if they can take care of some of their “friends” along the way. Of course, none of this is greenlighted until both mayors approve and the EDC Board. Everyone should read as much as you can about this “initiative”. They really think BN to be a future entrepreneurial hot spot based on no research and no significant seed money to back it up. It is why you also see ISU and IWU establishing on-campus incubators with no real strategy. Your taxpayer dollars at work.

      Liked by 1 person

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