By: Diane Benjamin
Remember the year around (cough cough) fitness court the Normal Council voted to proceed with? https://blnnews.com/2022/01/06/conflict-of-interest-by-mccarthy-sure-looks-like-it/
Scott Preston appears to have only voted YES because he was told the National Fitness Challenge is a nonprofit. Just hit play below to hear Pam Reece state it “appears” they are a nonprofit, then Scott Preston comments. Scott is followed by Chris Chris reading a statement that I could not find in the Council packet stating they are a non profit:
Since Karyn Smith did not attend this meeting, proceeding would have failed if Preston had voted NO. Instead the Town of Normal is moving forward.
Here’s the problem: Previous stories have shown this company is not a nonprofit registered in California. In fact they aren’t a nonprofit at all. That can be verified by an email exchange Stan Nord had with the company, he asked them directly since nobody at the Town wanted the truth:
Response from National Fitness Challenge:
In case that email is hard to read, see a blown up version of the highlighted section:
Stan sent the email below to the entire Council and Town attorney, he also copied me:
From: Stan Nord <[email protected]>
Sent: Friday, January 14, 2022 10:43 PM
To: Mayor and Council <[email protected]>; Brian Day <[email protected]>
Subject: Materially false information for Council Vote – NFC
At the last council meeting a Mr. Preston asked if NFC was a not-for-profit. Ms. Reece confirmed they were a non-for-profit. The non-for-profit status was discussed as it related to seeking other bids. The vote was to waive the requirement to seek other bids. Therefore, I believe the for-profit vs. not-for-profit information was material in nature.
After the meeting, I email Ms. Reece and asked her to request documentation from NFC confirming their not-for-profit tax status and share it with the council. I did not receive a response from her. (Which is not unique. You have all received emails from her basically saying she will not answer my questions unless the council majority demands her to answer my questions.) So, I contacted NFC and asked them their tax status. Attached is the chain of that conversation. Per NFC, they are a for-profit company.
We were given false information. Had staff said they were uncertain of their tax status, then things would be different. However the non-for-profit status was presented as fact.
This is not the first time this has happened.
My expectation is if staff are uncertain of an answer to be honest with the council and state they don’t know. Presenting unknown as fact is a lie and is unethical behavior.
What is the legal implication of a vote based on materially false information? What options does a council have to remedy this situation now that it is known?
So who committed fraud?
Did the document Chris Koos read really come from National Fitness Challenge, or did Koos and Reece conspire together to mislead the Council?
Scott Preston thinks he can represent the citizens of Bloomington and Normal in Springfield. If he doesn’t demand a revote based on the fact that he was lied to about NFC’s nonprofit status, that proves he won’t stand up to the Democrats in Springfield either. Your play Mr. Preston.
If the document Koos read from is actually from NFC, why would the Town want to do business with liars?
If NFC is representing themselves as nonprofit, they are committing fraud. It should be reported to the FBI since they crossed state lines. Maybe they saw Illinois ripe with rubes, the one installed in Lincoln isn’t used much if at all. Does Pam know that one was built with help from a hospital? If you listened to her comments, she mentioned possibly partnering with OSF.
Nothing about NFC is on the agenda for Monday’s meeting.