IML Conference expenses: Normal vrs Bloomington

By: Diane Benjamin

This pic from the Illinois Municipal League says everything you need to know about them:

IML refuses to post required information on their website! Yes, they are hiding.

They don’t file tax returns either even though their employees receive large pensions:

IML exists to represent government in Springfield, they don’t represent taxpayers.

IML held a conference in Chicago last September. Bloomington sent two people: Deputy City Manager Billy Tyus and Alderman Jeff Crabill.

Much smaller Normal sent FIVE people: Mayor Chris Koos, Assistant City Manager Eric Hanson, Trustees Karyn Smith, Kathleen Lorenz, and Chemberly Harris.

Registration for each attendee was $360. Koos paid $310, maybe less since he’s on their board now.

Normal had expenses listed for this conference of over $5000 on the last Council documents. The FOIA I received did not reflect expenses that high.

Below is a summary of what I did receive. (I asked them to look again, so far nothing)

Koos must not have been happy with a regular room that cost $282 a night, he paid for an upgrade:

Keep in mind this is the same Koos who ordered two luxury Rivians. Koos feels entitled to the best since taxpayers get the bills. He turned in an expense report for that hotel bill plus $74 in a per diem food allowance.

Chemberly Harris’ hotel bill was $1,174.11. She stayed for 3 nights instead of 2, the bill included $110.60 for valet parking.

There was another hotel bill with no name for two nights totaling $662.14. That must be Kathleen Lorenz’s bill.

Karyn Smith’s room was also $662.14.

Eric Hanson had a room upgrade and valet parking charges – total $890.14.

The “Let Them Eat Cake” bill is below:

Spending other people’s money is so easy when it’s obvious these 5 don’t care about your money. Keep in mind the underpass will likely cost $30,000,000 to save 50 feet.

See all the expenses I received to date here:

How much did the two from Bloomington spend?

These expense were on last Monday’s Bills and Payroll:

Tyus stayed at a cheaper hotel. I asked Jeff about lodging expenses, he had Communication Manager Kathrine Murphy answer instead. He was reimbursed  $332.16 for 1 night.

Bloomington spent $1,012.97.

Normal spent over $5,000.00 and can’t produce all the receipts. Is alcohol on those missing receipts Normal? That would be illegal but might explain why they don’t want me to have them.

Taxpayers in Normal have one last chance to return to sanity – next April. I know some people running for office need help getting signatures.

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10 thoughts on “IML Conference expenses: Normal vrs Bloomington

  1. Living large on the taxpayers backs. So typical and illustrative of their arrogance and disdain for the tax paying citizens of Normal. The IML is yet another example of the Unelected Administrative State adversely influencing our lives.

  2. I think all the residents of Normal should be able to have a $75 “chef tasting menu” meal on the taxpayers.

  3. Although small, a $4 cup of coffee is interesting because most hotels at that price offer it in rooms and at the bar for free. Most conferences also provide coffee. Just something to note we are compensating people when they attend, so interesting when they are given large per diems. A sort-of congrats to Bloomington for not spending as much.

    As far as those from Normal, does it really surprise anyone? Who knows if Preston learned his lesson. Now that he was defeated, he will probably be back on these trips. The restaurant can easily provide details about the tasting menu and if the $75 included any alcohol. Not providing detailed receipts usually signals something to hide. I wonder if all these folks are spending $75 out for dinner every night.

  4. How come Normal didn’t send Preston to this so that we the taxpayers could pay for his room service charges?

  5. How can Kathleen Lorenz sit up there on her perch and preach to the rest of us as she does Council meeting after Council meeting and then present to the taxpayers of Normal a bill like this? At the very least you would have thought that at least two of the women could have roomed together. Maybe Kathleen feels about her female colleagues the same as she does for Stan Nord.

    These people really should be ashamed of themselves. Kathleen and Karyn are both up for reelection. I know Lorenz has publicly stated she’s running again. Not sure about Smith, but both need to go.

  6. No Portillos for the the Normal Town Council. This from their web site. Maybe they want to open a branch in Uptown Circle:


    Mercat a la Planxa is a modern interpretation of timeless Catalan traditions. Located on Michigan Avenue, Mercat offers an authentic dining experience that combines fresh meats and produces with the energetic spirit of a Barcelona market. The interiors boast bright, rich fabrics and weathered mosaic tiles, accented by dynamic sculptural furniture and distinctive art murals.

    Mercat’s ambitious menu captivates diners with its masterful remix of authentic Spanish cuisine with an emphasis on the Catalonia region. From street food-styled starters to meal-sized classics, rice, and grilled specialties from our planxa grill, each dish leads diners to another stage along Mercat’s culinary adventure. Complementing the rich cultural experience is an extensive, yet finely curated selection of cava, sangria, wine, and cocktail creations.

    Mercat a la Planxa combines the best of both the old and new worlds, bringing a Catalan aesthetic to the heart of Chicago.

  7. Ok so correct me if I don’t understand but that form says the Per Diem per day is $74 with $55 on the day of travel. If the single dinner costs $75 each without tax that exceeds the Per Diem for reimbursement. Where is the documentation showing that the Per Diem was followed and only $74 per person was reimbursed for that day and no other meals were purchased? Also, do we have a copy of the other reimbursement forms for the other 4 people showing they did not claim the 74 per diem on each of their forms?

  8. Wait, just re-reading I see the Eric Hansen was reimbursed for the $500 for the dinner on 9/16 and Koos also claimed $74 per diem for Friday Nov 16th would means that Koos used twice the alotted Per Diem or if Koos wasn’t at the meal then who are the Taxpayers paying for?

    1. 5 people ate, let’s just say he was one of them since 5 people went. Koos was there for more than 1 day, I’d think the $74 was for the other day. Notice there were no drinks on that bill? That means they were included in the $75 @. Wonder what drinks were included?

      1. Koos specifically put on the expense form that the $74 Per Diem was for Friday with nothing listed on Thursday and Saturday otherwise that would only be $55 since Thursday and Saturday were travel days per the Reimbursement form.

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