Remember the $100 a month Normal lease?

By:  Diane Benjamin

It looks like this lease will not be coming back to the Council.  The taxpayers of Normal deserve to know how this “friends and family” rate got on the agenda in the first place.  Taxpayers dodged a huge bullet on this one.

Details in this story from the last time this item was on the agenda – 305 S Linden:    https://blnnews.com/2019/04/14/is-normal-handing-out-a-cheap-lease/

The lease was pulled from the Consent Agenda before the meeting.  Without the election of Stan and Karyn it likely would have sailed through without discussion.

The question I had is how did it get on the agenda in the first place?  Normal couldn’t find anybody willing to rent the two suites space for more than $100 a month?

I filed a FOIA request for any form of communication about the property.  See this email from City Manager Pam Reece to the guy who wanted to lease the two units:

starts with Koos

This was interesting because the email from Mayor Koos to Pam Reece was not included in the documents I received!

I asked the FOIA officer to check again, more were found!

The redaction is mine – they left Clay’s email address visible, note this is to Chris Koos:

koos tour guide

No wonder Koos thought he needed a raise, evidently he is Normal’s leasing agent.

There is one big thing missing from all the emails:

Where did $100 a month come from?

Once Pam Reece, Brian Day, and other staff got involved no one ever questioned the $100 a month.  By the time the staff got involved the deal was done.  That tells me Koos set the $100 a month price.

The tenant is required by law to pay property taxes on those units.  That wasn’t in the agreement.  Was Normal planning on paying the property taxes for them?  Don’t forget the $5000 the Town planned to spend to provide internet through CIRBN.  This proposal means the taxpayers of Normal would have subsidized an insider Koos deal!  Add it to the list!

There was an email discussion concerning the water bill.  They finally decided the tenant should pay the water bill estimated at $38 a month since rent is only $100 a month.  There was also back and forth about the wording of the lease.

March 18th is the oldest email I received, the lease was at Council on April 15th.  It was Koos’s recommendation to form an LLC.  It appears Clay has two partners.

Clay excited

Below is a correction Clay wanted in the lease.  He would have the authority to sell space without Town approval.  Essentially he would be making money off a taxpayer subsidized lease.

clay lease out

It gets better – it will be by invitation only:

invite

The story linked above shows the new company was incorporated on April 9th.  The email confirms it.

I hear other space has been acquired, Koos gave up on his sweet deal.  Thank Stan Nord.

 

11 thoughts on “Remember the $100 a month Normal lease?

  1. This is unconscienable. Sweet deals for the well connected and chosen few. Sure makes me wonder what other sweet deals might be out there in Bloomington Normal that we don’t know about yet. Thanks to Stan Nord.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A coworking space? There used to be one of those in uptown Normal. Not sure if it’s still there. I did a search for coworking spaces which turned up The LaunchPad near downtown Bloomington and Co:Create out near the airport. How exactly will this incubator in uptown with the sweet lease be different from these other three businesses? On the surface, it sure sounds like government is favoring businesses. It would be really hard to compete against a business that only paid $100 a month in rent!

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      1. The previous cowork space in Uptown also had a sweetheart deal if I recall.

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      2. So we have a business that is very trendy and hip in big cities but had already been tried in Normal and failed while located just down the street. Sounds like the perfect thing for Koos to thrown other people’s money at!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So, more places where one just looks and thinks WHAT do they actually DO there? Then you look them up and you STILL can’t figure it out. Great.

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