Pantagraph wrong again, but nothing new

By:  Diane Benjamin The Pantagraph thanked Alderman Diana Hauman for serving and for publicly stating she is not running for reelection to the Bloomington City Council because she was not able to develop a cohesive Council. When Judy Stearns and Kevin Lower were members, the Council was very cohesive.  Everything they said was ignored. The […]

Bloomington’s spending priorities Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin If the new City Manager is able to sell his house in Decatur, maybe he can take David Hales’s house off his hands.  It is still for sale, reduced AGAIN to $245,000.  It started at $279,900 last November.    https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/5-Conway-Cir-Bloomington-IL-61704/76972678_zpid/?fullpage=true Tari’s favorite non-profit, Illinois Policy Institute, wrote about Bloomington’s new City Manager, it’s […]

Council Recap

By:  Diane Benjamin The Bloomington City Council only had ONE meeting last night instead of 2 or 3.  It didn’t help them not spend your money, but at least they only contemplated how to shovel out more.  Of course, it was on downtown.  More later. Jamie Mathy did not attend, so Ward 1 had no […]

Arena – Will Gleason shut it down?

By:  Diane Benjamin The local paper has an editorial declaring the new City Manager the right guy because Decatur re-did their downtown.  They think Normal did, so there is no reason Bloomington can’t. They forgot Normal was in ZERO debt before they spent around $100,000,000 on Uptown.  (Is that restaurant space on the Circle still […]

A Can’t miss story:

By:  Diane Benjamin The same search firm, GovHR, that found Bloomington’s 3 City Manager candidates also recommended David Hales to Joliet. A reporter in Joliet wrote on June 3rd about Hales’ first 6 months.  It’s not going well.  This story was on Facebook last night.  If you didn’t see it there, read it here: https://patch.com/illinois/joliet/joliets-city-manager-david-hales-may-be-bad-fit-ferak […]

Threw a party, few came

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday a Meet and Greet was held for the three remaining Bloomington City Manager candidates.  The paper failed to report a crowd was expected but didn’t show up.  The below is from reports by two people who did attend.  Citizens can vote for their choice at a link below. People who did […]

Arena losses – fiction

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve been writing about the Coliseum (Grossinger Motors Arena) for YEARS.  This “White Elephant” has been a constant drain on taxpayers since it was conceived.  The losses are huge, theft is being prosecuted, the City failed to oversee operations, economic impact numbers are made up, and new management is doing little to […]

Karma for David Hales!

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington’s former City Manager, who never found time to look at reports from the Coliseum, has moved on to Joliet.  Hales will always be known as the guy who the City Council heaped praise and huge raises on while theft of taxpayer dollars was happening right under his nose.  I know many […]

Who destroyed downtown?

By:  Diane Benjamin According to Wikipedia: Back in 1967 virtually nothing existed where Eastland Mall is today.  Locals tell me the City Council cheered the new mall without understanding moving anchor stores from downtown would result in today’s conditions. How many employees did the Pantagraph formerly have downtown?  They recently created another empty large building […]

Another one bites the dust

By:  Diane Benjamin YMCA, State Farm, and now Specs Around Town are just some businesses who have or will be leaving downtown Bloomington. City of Bloomington:  Whatever you are doing is causing flight from downtown. Downtown is for bars, restaurants, lawyers, and government.  Until Bloomington quits trying to make downtown something it isn’t, the few businesses […]

You will never know the truth

By:  Diane Benjamin According to this Pantagraph story, the charges in the Coliseum case have been dropped against one of the 5 defendants and three others are in negotiations for a plea deal: http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/arena-defendants-involved-in-talks-with-state/article_db37d3a5-218c-5fb4-8d6a-812671ec0118.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-2 Can anybody guess why comments aren’t allowed to this story? The LAST thing any level of government in McLean County wants is […]

Who is more incompetent?

By:  Diane Benjamin http://wglt.org/post/charges-dismissed-former-coliseum-general-manager#stream/0 Charges were dismissed today against one of the main guys involved at the Coliseum, Bart Rogers.  He was John Butler’s main sidekick. The judge said the statute of limitations is three years, which means any theft or crimes that may have occurred prior to three years can no longer be prosecuted. […]

WGLT finally sees the light?

By:  Diane Benjamin See this recent WGLT story:  http://wglt.org/post/new-documents-link-vague-coliseum-contract-criminal-charges The former Coliseum management could get greatly reduced sentences because the documents WGLT presented prove the City didn’t care – as in David Hales didn’t care.  Hales was paid huge bucks to manage the City, he failed.  I really hope he is called as a witness to […]

Government for the employees

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington changed the pension spiking policy for all new hires after they became liable for the increased cost – that was in 2012. The policy has not been changed for existing employees.  Why should any person be entitled to a pension they didn’t earn? Employees are getting paid months before they retire for […]

Citizen Budget cuts

By:  Diane Benjamin Since Alderman Hauman’s citizen budget group hasn’t been allowed to discuss their findings at a Council meeting, I want you to see their work. (moving the library and a Welcoming Ordinance for illegals are evidently more important) The group started with the items discussed at the November retreat.  The retreat was the […]

If you leave your doors unlocked, is it legal . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin It’s David Hales fault! That is John Butler’s claim to justify the missing bucks.  I blame David Hales too, and the Council, and the Mayor who all shut their eyes and pretended nothing nefarious was happening with taxpayer money.  The joint was audited!  Except concessions never were.  Johnny Butler made sure of […]

Dixon residents were mad, why aren’t you?

By:  Diane Benjamin I just got back from seeing All the Queen’s Horses at the Normal Theater.  It’s the story of the $53.7 million theft by a City employee in Dixon Il. The movie is fabulous, you have one more chance to see it tomorrow night at 7:00.  Buy tickets on-line, the theater was close […]

Bloomington PDF page 13:

By:  Diane Benjamin http://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=15344 This statement is in a letter to Mayor Renner delivering the completed financial statements as of April 30, 2017: The letter is signed by David Hales and Patti-Lynn Silva. Director of Finance. Since Hales is gone, Patti-Lynn needs to explain why the financial statements weren’t released until December – 8 months […]

Budget meeting – the video

By:  Diane Benjamin The video of the December 20th budget meeting at the BCPA has been posted.  The camera angle does not allow viewers to see the data the crowd got to see. One thing is clear:  Council members like Scott Black believe government is the answer to every problem, they just need to spend […]

Chili Cook-off: the pics!

By:  Diane Benjamin See previous stories:  https://blnnews.com/2017/12/13/how-do-they-get-any-work-done/ When I was reading the volumes of emails the City of Bloomington employees sent to each other, I noticed some referred to pictures posted on the City’s intranet.  I FOIA’d the pics. I received 31, here’s a few of them.  Keep in mind, this is a party they threw […]

City should have sued their consultants

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington paid consultants before building the white elephant.  They predicted revenues of $7,000,000 a year and net income of  $2,319,000 a year.    https://blnnews.com/2015/07/21/coliseum-the-jokes-on-you/ The City has now gifted the financial statements from almost a year ago – 4/30/2017.  The Coliseum audited statements are included:    http://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=15348 Revenue for the year was […]

More Partying emails

By:  Diane Benjamin I wonder if the City thought I wouldn’t read the massive amount of emails they sent me.  Well, I did.  I filed one more FOIA request today for the pictures they posted on the City’s Intranet.  Correction:  EAC stands for Employee Activities Committee.  If the City is short on employees, ending this […]

Government for votes

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington does not act in the best interests of the citizens paying the bills.  They act in the best interest of whatever votes can be bought, especially employees. The City will not be ending pension spiking any time soon because Tari doesn’t want to.  In 2012 they ended the […]

How do they get any work done?

By:  Diane Benjamin How did the City of Bloomington employees get any work done when they spent 3 months planning the Chili Cook Off that only employees attended?  Worse, they were already working on the next party – this month – before the October one was even held.  It sounds like all the departments decorate […]

Party On!

By:  Diane Benjamin Toward the end of last night’s City Council meeting David Sage again discussed getting aldermen on board before something is brought to the Council.  He claims it is to save staff time when in reality it is to keep Renner from putting silly things on the agenda. David Sage: Here’s how staff […]

It’s a secret!

By:  Diane Benjamin On May 1st when the newly elected Council members were sworn into office the City threw a party. It didn’t matter the oath they took was illegal. I received this email this morning from the City Attorney: Yes, I told him I want copies of the new oaths WITHOUT the signatures redacted! […]

Monday PCard and bills

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll for Monday night:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=15410 This one is easy Patti Lynn – no need to belong to anything!  111 felony counts could have easily been prevented!   With Tari now PCardless and David Hales gone, money saved.  The City Council still ate at your expense: Why did Public Works need pizza […]

CIAM hilarity continues

By:  Diane Benjamin The newspaper is reporting CIAM (of 111 felony counts fame) is suing the City for commissions they are owed. . . . . . . . . .   Sorry, I couldn’t help it. Maybe the City could counter sue them to recover the costs of the auditors trying to figure out […]

Who called the officer to the retreat?

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington claims no calls exist! Evidently an officer took it upon himself to show up at the City Council retreat at The Den just for fun. The report I received showed he stayed for an hour.  That’s an hour he wasn’t out patrolling or doing other work.  Bloomington wants […]

Tari: H**l of a mess

By:  Diane Benjamin One more recap from Monday’s City Council meeting: VenuWorks recapped what they wanted to bring to the BCPA, including saving an estimated $200,000 a year in operations. VenuWorks has access to an email list of 409,000 people in Central Illinois to help promote shows VenuWorks has plans for new revenue including concessions […]

One more retreat note:

By:  Diane Benjamin I reported in Part 1 that Hales blamed the past Council for approving building Fire Station #5:  https://blnnews.com/2017/11/08/49548/ Hales claims the Council needs to assert their authority instead of always taking staff recommendations. Two points to consider: Voting against a Fire Station will get you accused of not caring about Public SsafetyHales could […]

Retreat: Part 2

By:  Diane Benjamin The second session of the retreat was 3 hours and 33 minutes.  I DID NOT LISTEN TO EVERY SECOND!  I jumped around and listened to more than half.  It was obvious Quality of Life is not going to be in proposed cuts.  The discussion involved real spending for the first time in […]

Council Retreat Recap – Part 1

By:  Diane Benjamin I wasn’t able to attend the retreat last Saturday, so I FOIA’d the audio.  Of course it’s long, so far I’ve listened to part one.  A link is below.  The documents they are discussing can be found HERE  Below are comments I had while listening to the audio, it’s not a story in […]

Past Due TIF Reports?

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday I did two stories on past due Tax Increment Financing reports: https://blnnews.com/2017/11/03/is-normal-hiding-tif-data/ https://blnnews.com/2017/11/03/bloomington-plays-the-same-tif-game/ First:  It is ridiculous the citizens have to wait over 6 months after a year-end for financial information. Second:  If you look under Finance on both the Bloomington and Normal websites, there are NO links to TIF reports.  […]

Irony of the Day!

By:  Diane Benjamin The below is what the City of Bloomington has in this year’s budget for Public Transportation: Bloomington has more than doubled what they give Connect Transit.  Yes, that structural deficit is the Council’s fault.  Even with more of your money, CT continues to lose between $800,000 and $900,000 every month. Tomorrow the […]

Bloomington plays the same TIF game

By:  Diane Benjamin Normal has not submitted TIF reports to the Comptroller as required:  https://blnnews.com/2017/11/03/is-normal-hiding-tif-data/ Bloomington hasn’t either: warehouse.illinoiscomptroller.com Bloomington TIF Past Due The Comptroller’s  office must not know Bloomington created another TIF in October 2016 for downtown.  They will when I notify them. See the Council minutes here for when the TIF was created:   http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=11542 […]

Retreat! Yep, but it’s a secret

By:  Diane Benjamin Tax receipts are flat.  The City of Bloomington is facing more “structural deficits” they created.   What to do, what to do? Let’s hold a retreat Saturday at the Den where it can’t be video taped!  The citizens have no right to know we are going to raise property taxes: Packet PDF page […]

Legal: Employee Investigations?

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve written before about the City spending resources to prosecute employees when arbitration reaches a different conclusion than the one the City wants.  Remember Scott Oglesby?   https://blnnews.com/2013/05/06/the-real-story-of-scott-oglesbys-firing/ Now they are doing it again.  This time it’s a fireman, Jon Caponi, who was arrested in 2016 for domestic violence.  See the newspaper story […]

What’s a “bona fide plan holder”?

By:  Diane Benjamin Nobody checked into why David Hales left Bend Oregon after only 2 years and all the records were sealed.  See this story:  https://blnnews.com/2013/09/17/who-is-city-manager-david-hales/ Obviously nobody in Joliet did any independent research of David Hales either since the Council had no idea 5 people were charged with 111 felony counts while he was in […]

Lunch with people who sue: Renner

By:  Diane Benjamin When the last Downtown Bloomington TIF ended, I hear David Bentley wasn’t happy with the money he got to rehab the CII East Building.  He sued the City in 2014. See the 2014 TIF report here:   ftp://ftp.illinoiscomptroller.com/LocGovTIF/FY2014/06402530/14TIF06402530Dwtwn_Cendistrict.pdf Since the TIF was pretty much over, expenses for legal fees were all that is […]

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