By: Diane Benjamin
Normal Mayor Chris Koos was nominated by Sen Dick Durbin to the Amtrak Board of Directors. Amtrak and Koos are a perfect fit. It does mean that Koos can no longer participate in discussions about building an underpass since all decisions involve Amtrak. See PDF page 5: http://www.normal.org/DocumentCenter/View/12829/2017-Purchasing-Policy-Manual-x?bidId=
Amtrak will be paying him which means Koos has a conflict of interest. No, just recusing himself from bills doesn’t cut it. How many DC trips did Koos bill the taxpayers for?
Remember the lady in Dixon Il who ripped of $53.7 million tax dollars? Koos usually loves the Illinois Municipal League, now he is ignoring their October 2019 report pertaining to protecting towns from the same theft. See the report here: https://www.iml.org/page.cfm?key=22600&parent=4787
Crundwell, who is currently serving nearly 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud, was able to get away with stealing city funds for 22 years primarily because her bookkeeping was never questioned.
Perhaps the best safeguard at the monitoring stage is the city council or board of trustees. Board members have the advantage of being outsiders, to a certain degree. They can look at data from a different perspective and ask questions about any transactions that seem questionable. Boards should not be rubber stamps; they should be watchdogs.
Chris Koos only excepts rubber stamps!
Koos changed the agenda from “Approval of Town Expenditures” to “Report to receive and file expenditures”. He did this only because Stan Nord asked questions. Koos claims the bills are already paid. Koos doesn’t want WATCHDOGS, neither did Rita Crundwell.
See the video at 26:11. Koos tells Nord to basically shut-up because his comments are inappropriate. Dixon was audited, just like Normal. Audits don’t find or look for fraud. I’m particularly upset with CPA Karyn Smith. She knows better but says nothing.
The next Council should demand a forensic audit. “Methinks Koos doth protest too much.”
The discussion to spend almost $250,000 putting utilities underground in Uptown begins at 33:10. It was extensive, but it’s easy to see the Council just wants a pretty Uptown and the above ground lines are an eyesore. Funny how several considered them a safety issue. Are people climbing the poles? Are the lines suddenly going to drop on people?
The bottom line is somebody with Fiala Brothers screwed up and planned a building right where a power pole is located. The Town already spent money with Farnsworth for engineering. up to $22,000. That is in addition to the $249,300.
Pam Reece claimed the project won’t happen without the Town spending the almost $250,000. In other words, if you develop Uptown taxpayers will be forced to bend over for you, developers like Stan Nord on West College will be punished for mistakes the Town made a decade ago because he dared to develop outside of Uptown. I’m happy she clarified that.
Chemberly Cummings thinks spending big bucks is “forward thinking”. Of course she is the one who borrowed money it 97.74% interest: https://blnnews.com/2019/09/16/part-2-why-chemberly-isnt-fit-to-serve/
The other high point (or low point) was Kathleen Lorenz claiming she knows more about TIF’s than Stan and maybe he should ask her or staff so they can explain it. See 54:33.
Kathleen is the clueless one. The Uptown TIF isn’t close to generating enough income to pay for what the TOWN invested. I did a story about the Uptown TIF in December, maybe Kathleen should read it: https://blnnews.com/2019/12/16/uptown-tif-facts/
Does Kathleen know with most the businesses in Uptown closed TIF income isn’t being generated, yet those same businesses will be expected to fork over bloated property taxes soon? Do they all have secret stashes of cash Kathleen?
That discussion should be seen by every taxpayers in Normal. They are being forced to pay for vanity at time when vanity should be the last spending priority. Uptown is all that matters to everyone but Stan. All the rest voted to spend the money.