By: Diane Benjamin
Below is a clip from the January 4, 2022 Normal Council meeting where the National Fitness Campaign project was discussed. The speaker is Doug Damery, head of Parks and Recreation for Normal. Remember the $25,000 grant Normal received? Damery details how difficult the process was to get that grant: (less than 1 minute)
Doug makes it sound like he spent hours and hours filing out paperwork for that $25,000 grant!
The grant didn’t come from National Fitness Campaign, it came from a group called Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA). It is not an agency of the State of Illinois, it’s a private membership group.
See this link:
IPRA partnered with National Fitness Campaign to hand out grants.
Doug Damery didn’t reveal that at the Council meeting, he should have:
Damery is the board chair of the organization that handed out the grants! All Doug needed was Council approval. The grant was never a question when the board chair of IPRA was the guy wanting it.
Refer back to the “grant” announcement link. Damery had to know National Fitness Campaign was not a non-profit. This statement is on the bottom of their press release:
Town of Normal purchasing policy: https://www.normal.org/DocumentCenter/View/12829/2017-Purchasing-Policy-Manual-x?bidId=
Doug Damery violated the Town of Normal purchasing policy by not revealing the organization he is Board President of has partnered with National Fitness Campaign:
One more thing:
Another outdoor fitness company was also courting Normal – Greenfields Outdoor Fitness. Their equipment doesn’t require training and downloading an app to use like National Fitness Campaign’s does:
Without “favor or prejudice” Mr. Damery?
Which equipment is more likely to be used? The one that requires an app and training or the above?
Pam Reece had to know Doug Damery’s position with IPRA, she said nothing. Chris Koos likely knew too, the IPRA tax return (see below) says Damery spends 10 years a week working for IPRA. Is that on Town of Normal time Doug?
All of this information was either acquired by FOIA or researched through data found in the FOIA.
IPRA has a list of COMMERICAL members meaning IPRA collects membership fees and then promotes the commercial members. National Fitness Campaign is one of them: https://ilipra.org/ILIPRA/About_Us/CommercialMembers/ILIPRA/About_Us/CommercialMembers.aspx?hkey=168f7012-6f76-4241-939b-3d459dfa4cd0
Anyone surprised Greenfield’s Outdoor Fitness isn’t a member? Is that why their much easier to use equipment wasn’t considered Mr. Damery?
IPRA 2019 Tax return: https://apps.irs.gov/pub/epostcard/cor/300098388_201912_990_2021022217741784.pdf
IPRA actually is a nonprofit, unlike National Fitness Campaign. In 2019 Damery was just the secretary, he wasn’t paid. His promotion to Board Chair also appears to be unpaid.
If it looks like a skunk and smells like a skunk . . . . .