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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Downtown isn’t the City Core!

By:  Diane Benjamin Downtown businesses didn’t even support the Downtown Bloomington Association.  Now the DBA employees are happy City employees complete with higher salaries, benefits and pensions! The Coliseum and the Bloomington Center for Performing Arts (BCPA) were supposed to brings hoards of people downtown. The Visitor’s Center in the McLean County History Museum was […]

Connect Transit: September Fleece

By:  Diane Benjamin See the September report here:     https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4zAZemF_qQuX0JzckFHNFZJV1k/view Revenue from riders doesn’t come close to pay the wages of the employees:   The total operating loss appears to not be a red flag for anybody: Government can’t come up with a way to transport people without losing $833,895 in one month? The loss […]

Monday: Brick Streets

By:  Diane Benjamin Since a few people on the council think the remaining brick streets need to be saved, the Council will hear how much it will cost at the Special meeting.  This is the 10 year projection:  PDF page 76  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=14866 I added the zeros the presentation conveniently leaves out. When the eventual ordinance hits […]

Can the Council READ?

By:  Diane Benjamin PDF Page 10:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=12766 Last April the Council unanimously approved spending $114,999 to hire Greenplay to develop a Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts Master Plan. Keep in mind, the only reason for Master Plans is to bind the hands of future Councils because millions have been spent planning.  Even with this massive expense, […]

Secret Meeting Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=14866 Once again Monday the Council has TWO meetings scheduled instead of just one regular meeting.  Besides discussing more Master Plans meant to bind the hands of future Councils and bankrupt citizens, they will convene another secret meeting for which the minutes will NEVER be released: Why the Council would want to […]

September PCard + Bills

By: Diane Benjamin Even on sick leave, Tari can hold a business meeting at a bar and use the City PCard:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=14856 The rest of the council still has no problem feeding themselves at your expense. Looks like the Chamber of Commerce is behind “Quality of Life” Monarch Group is Real Estate Development.  Funny how WHO […]

Blatant Taxpayer Abuse

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington knew the law had changed on pension spiking in 2012.  They changed the policy for NEW hires, but not for existing employees. Here’s the recap: The IMRF retirement fund was tired of paying for spiked pensions because of Sick Leave Buy Back payments that inflated ending salaries. Since […]