Local FAKE NEWS: The Pantagraph

By:  Diane Benjamin Thank God Steve Vogel is retiring for good!  His column today doesn’t merit commenting on and I sure didn’t read the whole thing.  If I hadn’t jumped to the comments I would have missed that he is walking off into the sunset – keep walking Steve!  I wonder what left winger will […]

Update: Coliseum: Promises, Promises

Update:  The management announced today the naming rights have been sold – and for the same amount US Cellular was paying: $175,000 a year.  It will be name Grossinger Motors Arena for at least 5 years.  I haven’t heard who is paying for the new signs, letterhead, business cards, menus, etc. _____________________________________ By:  Diane Benjamin […]

Sage’s man crush

By:  Diane Benjamin At the Council meeting two weeks ago, where City Manager David Hales got a raise, Alderman David Sage promised a speech praising him at the next meeting.  That meeting was very lengthily, so he wanted to delay his accolades.  Since every vote was unanimous Monday night, the meeting was short.  Sage took […]

Pravdagraph propaganda

By:  Diane Benjamin CLEAN audits mean nothing! Dixon Illinois got taken for $50,000,000 with CLEAN audits.  Forensic Audits find fraud, regular yearly audits only mean the numbers are in the right columns. Thanks Pantagraph for printing what you were told. Why were the Bloomington financial statements released REALLY late?  Tonight the Council will hear information […]

Coliseum smacks taxpayers again

By: Diane Benjamin Coliseum Quarterly reports are now on-line:  http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-526 Last years reports for the year ended 4/30/2016 are still a secret.  VenuWorks has been managing the Coliseum for all three of the quarters listed at the link above. 1st quarter revenue:  $770,839.87 2nd quarter revenue:  $275,590.46 3rd quarter revenue:  $677,924.52 Don’t get excited – […]

Prosecution? You decide

By:  Diane Benjamin This FOIA request was filed by a citizen: USCC = US Cellular Coliseum Note:  Denied in full Now see the reason the City of Bloomington used to deny the request: Law enforcement doesn’t mean “court case”.  So, what is the City saying? Note:  The request was for information from 2014 and 2015.  […]

What happened in Court

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday the judge heard arguments on the Motions to Dismiss filed by both CIAM and the City of Bloomington.  Both want this case to go away before I find anything else.  The contract calls for the City to receive 15% on catering – to date I have NO catering information, especially backstage […]

VenuWorks under investigation?

By:  Diane Benjamin I filed this Freedom of Information request with the City of Bloomington: I saw reference to this report in the last batch of emails I FOIA’d. Note:  This request was denied. This is the reason given for the denial: So, one of these is true: The City is so used to denying […]

COURT Monday 3:15

By:  Diane Benjamin On Monday Judge Foley will hear arguments on Motions to Dismiss filed by both the City of Bloomington and CIAM.  Both are claiming I have the documents I filed the lawsuit for. I am going to prove I don’t. Should be fun!  Come if you can, I love the support from citizens […]

So Bloomington claims . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin The narrative Bloomington wants you to believe is they didn’t know about any malfeasance at the Coliseum by CIAM until VenuWorks took possession of the building. Forget for a minute that I’d been writing about CIAM since 2013. VenuWorks took over at the end of March 2016. This agreement was signed was […]

Court? What court

By:  Diane Benjamin The good news is Judge Foley is still hearing the case.  She is familiar with the settlement discussions, so I’m much more comfortable with her in charge. Since both the City of Bloomington and CIAM filed motions to dismiss, we had to set another hearing date for those arguments.  I was ready […]

UPDATE: Court again on Monday

Both the City Attorneys and CIAM’s Attorneys have filed motions to dismiss. I have a surprise for them on Monday! ______________________________________________ By:  Diane Benjamin Monday is yet another court date for my lawsuit against the City of Bloomington and Central Illinois Arena Management (CIAM) as an intervening party. http://webapp.mcleancountyil.gov/webapps/PublicAccess/TwoWeekDocketCivil.htm Judge Foley gave the City and […]

Coliseum Concessions: More proof

By:  Diane Benjamin When I filed the lawsuit for concession information from the Coliseum I expected to receive a report PER EVENT like the one below.  This is an actual report from the Coliseum that I received from a whistle-blower.  No, am I not saying who – so don’t ask. This is a tough report […]

UPDATE: The Hales Coliseum coverup

This is another story where Hales claims the Coliseum had CLEAN audits:  http://ilnews.org/9870/financial-probe-of-coliseums-former-manager-may-involve-concession-money/ They weren’t clean, concessions were NEVER audited, and Hales refused to protect taxpayer money. _____________________________________________________ By:  Diane Benjamin According to this September 12th Pantagraph article, City Manager David Hales claims the Coliseum audits have always received a clean opinion:  http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/government-and-politics/state-police-city-investigating-coliseum-operations/article_6e1ae325-da35-5573-845a-454e9b4c8031.html David Hales […]

More: Coliseum Investigation

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday I obtain an email address for an officer with the State Police who has knowledge of the Coliseum investigation.  I sent him an email stating not only concession commissions were an issue, but the CITY employees who allowed the problems to happen.  It’s unconscionable that David Hales allowed CIAM to operate […]

Coliseum: Press Release issued

I just sent this press release to numerous local media: Diane Benjamin BlnNews.com September 2, 2016 Press Release Bloomington City Manager David Hales needs to step down immediately Last week I obtained concession sale documents from the US Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington Il.  These documents were only obtained because of a Freedom of Information lawsuit […]

Pantagraph finally reports, sort of

By:  Diane Benjamin Today the local media finally decided to report on the Coliseum:  http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/government-and-politics/city-examining-ciam-s-concession-sales-at-coliseum/article_32b4b33e-8f50-5782-a8be-4ea5a57fbf0b.html It needs a few corrections: I knew Renner was going to try to say the concession problems I’ve been writing about for YEARS only came to light under the new management of the Coliseum.  The City is investigating other issues […]

Bombshell: Sit down before reading

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve been writing about the Coliseum since early 2014.  My lawsuit against the City of Bloomington was the last resort to getting somebody’s attention!  I would not have this information without the lawsuit. Earlier this week I received part of the information I sued for:  three years of concession sales information.  I […]

court update: VICTORY

By:  Diane Benjamin My original lawsuit against the City of Bloomington for Coliseum Concession reports and payroll was filed September 21, 2015. It goes back farther than that because I had previously filed with the Attorney General’s Public Access office.  Those documents go back to at least January 2015.  I foolishly though Lisa Madigan’s office […]

Court AGAIN Tomorrow

By:  Diane Benjamin The saga continues tomorrow at 2:00 – Courtroom 5C.  The attorneys for CIAM filed some last minute documents, probably hoping for another delay.  I really appreciate the support from citizens who took time out to attend hearings.  Come tomorrow if you can – it could get interesting.  I’d love to see a […]

Coliseum-John Butler’s ghost

By:  Diane Benjamin The media has never reported on my lawsuit against the City of Bloomington and Central Illinois Arena Management (CIAM) – the old Coliseum manager.  John Butler was the principal agent for CIAM.  Possible fraud or abuse of taxpayers isn’t news. The lawsuit is based on a denied FOIA for the 2014 concession […]

Back in Court this morning

By:  Diane Benjamin This hearing was scheduled by the lawyers for CIAM.  They wanted further settlement talks. Instead I filed an Amended Motion that has little resemblance to what I have filed previously.  Yes, I met with a lawyer last week who explained what the judge was looking for in words I could understand.  I […]

Coliseum Lawsuit update

By:  Diane Benjamin It appears CIAM’s lawyers weren’t serious about settling the case.  Today I received a draft copy filled with legal conditions meant to limit my rights and protect their client.  If they thought I would agree to the myriad of conditions, they were mistaken. I will be filing for an extension of time […]

Now for the Court Update!

By:  Diane Benjamin Ever heard of lawyers dragging on a case hoping you quit? I dragged it on long enough for CIAM quit! Brief recap: I filed the lawsuit when it became obvious the City NEVER checked to see if concession revenue at the Coliseum was paid according to the contract.  It was also apparent […]

Court update

By:  Diane Benjamin Come back tomorrow.  I REALLY don’t feel like writing now.  It’s complicated. (that doesn’t mean bad) Tomorrow will also have a totally unrelated surprise.  

Court Thursday

By:  Diane Benjamin Thursday, May 19, 2016 02:30 PM BENJAMIN VS CITY OF BLOOMINGTON & CENTRAL ILLINOIS ARENA MANAGEMENT 5C 2015MR000763 . This will be the first time with Judge Foley instead of Judge Lawrence.  Note the new courtroom-5C I have hope she will realize this is a simple FOIA case.  Bloomington quit defending CIAM […]

Today’s Court Update

By:  Diane Benjamin Central Illinois Arena Management MAY want to settle the case.  Their lawyer mentioned it in court after scheduling yet another hearing on May 19th.  I get to play lawyer once again and respond to a motion filed by them and one by the City. Ever wonder why justice takes years?  Many trees […]

ANOTHER Court update

By:  Diane Benjamin The next court date is Monday, April 25 – 9:30 am.  Same courtroom as last time if you want to attend – 5D Judge Lawrence will decide whether the amended motion I filed is enough to proceed to a hearing.  If he rules against me the citizens of Bloomington will never know […]

Butler GONE, quite a show

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve heard from reliable sources that John Butler and crew are gone from the Coliseum as of today. I also hear he was busy shredding documents.  Police were present, but I have no idea why.  City officials were present yesterday. What was Butler paid for the 10-year-old fully depreciated concession equipment? The […]

Coliseum: New Management!

By:  Diane Benjamin I attended the press conference today to announce the new Coliseum Management. The Council will approve it at the next meeting. The only problem I saw was a lack of transparency and no Request For Proposal was issued.  David Hales said two other companies were in town last week and another one […]

CIAM – truth matters Tari

By:  Diane Benjamin You have a chance to start over Tari.  Ending the relationship with CIAM will give the Coliseum one last chance.  Start telling the truth or the reset will flop.  Listen to this the interview Tari had yesterday with WJBC’s Dan Swaney: http://www.wjbc.com/2016/03/07/central-illinois-arena-management-withdraws-from-coliseum-contract-talks/ Tari states he didn’t think anything the City was negotiating […]

More CIAM lies

By:  Diane Benjamin Here’s the CIAM contract:  Management Agreement CIAM See page 6: CIAM contributed the concessions equipment in order to get the contract. They don’t own it!  The City of Bloomington does. Let the spin begin!

Goodbye CIAM

By:  Diane Benjamin Can anybody remember Tari Renner campaigning 4 years ago for transparency at the Coliseum? Got one of those short campaign video clips talking about the Coliseum Tari? Tari claimed that on WJBC this afternoon with Dan Swaney discussing the exit of the current Coliseum management. Both men know about my lawsuit – […]