Chemberly: Wrong again

By:  Diane Benjamin

Last night’s Normal Town Council meeting lasted close to 4 hours.  It started with a conga line of Uptown supporters, most (if not all) connected to government.  2 objectors to the Fiala payoff were conveniently placed at the end of Public Comment.  It started at 8:00 if you want to watch.

On the Fiala vote, Stan Nord and Karyn Smith voted no.  The supposed Republicans, Lorenz and Preston, voted to give away your money.  It all sounds wonderful – the Town isn’t giving away current money, they are giving away future revenue.  Karyn made the point it’s all the local taxes on the first $5,000,000 in sales.  What this vote amounts to is:

  • picking winners and losers
  • shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic
  • redistribution of wealth

There is a reason wealth increases wealth.  Government salivates at handing out money to those willing to spend.  The rest of us pay the tab.  Since the Fiala’s are building for the local community (discussed last night) some other businesses will lose market share to them.  There are limited dollars available for eating out.  Normal wants them concentrated in Uptown.

Chemberly Cummings proved she is clueless.  (She was seriously salivating over the project!)

Chemberly compared the Fiala brothers to Portillos.  She actually thought their payoff happened early because of high revenue.  She even asked for somebody to correct her it she was wrong, Pam Reece started to, but Chemberly continued anyway.

Fact Chemberly:  The Portillos money ($1,825,271) went to Bloomington Landmark Development, not Portillos.  It was supposed to be reimburse them for tearing down a hotel with future Food and Beverage receipts.


It wasn’t paid with tax receipts  The developer is the same guy who did 1 Uptown Circle.  In January 2018 the Town wrote him a check for $1,726,760.  It was pretty obvious at the time he needed the money.  The apartments in Uptown weren’t renting well and the first floor generated no income.  (It still doesn’t).  I remember Town officials claiming the payoff was to save interest.  Essentially taxpayers were lied to about “future revenue” paying the bill.   See the check in this story:

Side note:  Zillow shows 2 – 2 bedroom apartments still available for rent – $2500 a month.  TrailEast will add more apartments.

Don’t miss Koos shutting off discussion at 1:33:37 after Stan Nord made his arguments against it.  Koos claimed he knew where this was going and didn’t want to hear anymore.

Earlier Koos claimed he was offended that Karl Sila referenced the TIF in his public comment.  Karyn Smith pointed out right before the vote the Council documentation mentions the TIF.  Lorenz paused before voting yes, I wonder if she was actually considering a NO vote.  See Smith and the vote at 34:00 and following.

It will take more than one story to cover the 4 hour marathon.  The financial statements and the Uptown TIF were discussed WITHOUT providing copies to the Trustees or the Public.  The Town told people what to think.  The Town’s convenient Public Comment policy allowing only items on the agenda means once the documents are unpacked they can’t be mentioned at a meeting.

Normal:  You scored on electing Karyn Smith.  As an accountant, she asked many great questions and pointed out facts concerning both the TIF and financial statements.  More on those later.

Just hit play to here Chemberly (1:08:30):

12 thoughts on “Chemberly: Wrong again

  1. Why such a big hand out .. To me It would make more sense to tax a little in the beginning and give a break 1 or 2 months if profit drops due to an issue in start up . This is unfair to those who pay taxes and to the ones who need those tax dollars to provide or do a useful thing .. This is sadly how debt grows . and It helps only a few chosen .

  2. Mr. Nord made a good point .. , But they had a done deal irregardless of query about benefit or why pay consultants when the council jumps on stuff .. They see it as positive Application toward increasing Utopia .. Like Mr. Nord , I see little gain .

  3. “Done deals and Right fits” are the DOWNFALL of what was ONCE a nice town, with a small town atmosphere! UPTOWN, is now a BARREN mess of concrete and steel that is almost $100 million in debt, and NOTHING good to show for it.. That’s what Democrats do.. The KOOS legacy, will live..

  4. This Dave Shields fella is insufferable. Could it be any more obvious that he is just a plant to stroke the egos of Koos and his minions?

    Look up his house. Almost a half million dollar asking price. Of course he doesn’t care about higher taxes. He can afford it. Just another typical “do as I say, not as I do” liberal.

    1. Dave Shields and Chris Koos are “close” for more than there similar political beliefs. The takeover of BN is well thought out and well coordinated by those with loose morals.

      1. Sam Adams summed it up: “But neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.”

  5. The Fiala’s own DP Dough, right? They already have a successful business with a built-in customer base. Why would they need this money? Of course they will take it and run, who wouldn’t? Just ask for it and it will be granted…if it’s the right fit.

    1. My guess is that, while successful, lenders still want a certain amount of investment. Thus, they may be limited in how much they can borrow. To make the project work.

      I hope they are wildly successful and draw people in from out of town. If the Town is going to provide economic incentives, I would prefer it to be a small fraction of the price, done to support locals who invest back in the community (which these guys do), and based on hitting good numbers. For ex, don’t just hand free plots of land and checks up front. The same with Rivian having to hit job metrics to get their incentives.

      I also like that this does not rebate property taxes. The value of what is paid, essentially helping offset TIF losses, will be a positive compared to what Bill’s Lock and Key paid.

      If this grows like Destihl did, it would be awesome to have a place in town converted into another brewery. Those become much higher paying jobs and draw more attraction to the craft beer market in town.

  6. My understanding was the mayor claimed he was offended by my calling the $150K a ‘bribe’ to get a business to build in uptown. I meant it in a colloquial term meaning ‘inappropriate incentive’, like when some parents ‘bribe’ their kids with a candy bar when they’re being bratty at the store. (Not implying the Fiala brothers are brats.) I already posted on FB that if anyone made the incorrect inference that I meant a Criminal bribe, I apologize for their confusion.

    But I do stand by the gist of my comment that if Uptown was the raving success that of the ‘conga line’ Public Commenters made it out to be, there should no longer be any need for bribes, incentives, or whatever else.

    1. Maybe Koos has a really guilty conscious and that is why he was so “offended”. What he defends against is real.

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