Things you need to know:

By: Diane Benjamin 1) 2 more things from Bloomington Council meeting last Monday: Tim Gleason thinks he has to obey whatever Pritzker utters, of course getting money is involved. Gleason is going to require all fire department personnel to be vaccinated or test twice a week. No mention of people who have had COVID and […]

Bill Flick: Trying to re-write history?

By: Diane Benjamin h/t a reader Since I don’t read the Pantagraph, a reader told me what Bill Flick wrote in a column last Sunday. https://pantagraph.com/opinion/columnists/flick-from-jimmy-fallon-to-jay-janssen-in-no-time/article_af765d10-bbb8-5b2a-8412-bf30d1fd8685.html Maybe Flick can be forgiven for not knowing the truth since his paper dutifully printed the bogus Profit/Loss numbers reported by the former managers and NEVER the audited numbers […]

Local Government Isn’t Your saviour

By: Diane Benjamin Monday night the residents with damaged property due to flooding last June didn’t show up at Council. They have been to every other Council meeting since June making Public Comments. Maybe they were too appalled the Library would claim $20 million+ was all they need for GLORIOUS while their homes remain damaged […]

Bloomington bills approved tonight

By: Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll: https://www.cityblm.org/home/showpublisheddocument/26488/637588526176300000 Wasn’t Sick Leave Buy Back abolished? Buy local? Not when Amazon can deliver office and cleaning supplies with a mouse click. This is what the City spent in one month: Even administration participated: Remember when the Coliseum was sold as it would pay for itself? https://blnnews.com/2017/01/28/coliseum-who-to-blame/ Hint: It […]

Bloomington last night

By: Diane Benjamin Jamie Mathy reported Jenn Carrillo did not participate because she was experiencing internet problems. The City extended the Post Office lease in the Market Street parking garage for 18 months. Usually the lease is for 5 years, the City reduced it because they are planning to replace the garage. A contract was […]

Amenity not Economic Development

By: Diane Benjamin Last night’s Bloomington council meeting: Tari Renner and the Clerk had to be reminded Public Comment was skipped. I hope the next mayor can read and follow an agenda, Tari can’t (numerous examples from recent meetings). See around 49:00. There was only one Public Comment. Ward 3 candidate Willie Holton Halbert took […]

Normal Trustees: Whatever Stan says we vote against

By: Diane Benjamin Last night’s Normal Town Council meeting was slightly over 4 hours. It started with a presentation by County Board Chair John McIntyre and County Administrator Camille Rodriguez pertaining to sales tax increase to fund mental health. That presentation took close to an hour. Was that on purpose to deflect from the budget […]

What Mike Matejka left out

By: Diane Benjamin https://www.pantagraph.com/opinion/columnists/mike-matejka-normal-election-potholes-vs-progress/article_b11f20fe-e830-5d01-bc84-d912acc37bf5.html Anybody know why the guy who voted to build the Coliseum gets to write a column in the paper? Better yet, why does anybody listen to him when he not only voted against the will of the people but has never apologized for his taxpayer fleece? Of course Mike is campaigning […]

Tari Flashback, Monday’s agenda

By: Diane Benajmin Something I found while looking for something else, this is dated in December of 2017: https://www.wjbc.com/2017/12/13/renner-bloomington-wont-be-sanctuary-city-mayor-sees-need-to-cut-personnel-costs-to-reduce-spending/ Excerpt: Monday night Jenn Carrillo’s Welcoming City Ordinance is on the agenda: Are you going to tell the Council not to approve this Tari? Change your mind? You now want Bloomington to be a sanctuary City […]

McLean County Justice

By: Diane Benjamin https://www.wglt.org/post/final-coliseum-defendant-pleads-guilty-misdemeanor-agrees-restitution#stream/0 The last Coliseum theft case was settled last week. The two main culprits got off with misdemeanor convictions while 2 low level employees who couldn’t afford to pay lawyers for years now have felony convictions. All 4 received plea deals, another defendant had all charges dropped. The City of Bloomington received […]

Before you believe John Butler:

By: Diane Benjamin John Butler and his lawyers have been telling media John didn’t know his employees were stealing concession money. Evidently he’s such a great guy he agreed to a misdemeanor and paid $450,000 in restitution just because. That of course was after spending who knows how many thousands (hundreds of thousands?) on attorneys […]

John Butler – the Rest of the case

By: Diane Benjamin State’s Attorney Don Knapp just sent me the final documents. The City of Bloomington is getting $430,230. The Illinois Department of Revenue is getting $19,770. That’s where the $450,000 previously reported came from. Butler plead guilty to a Class A misdemeanor for manipulating concessions sales. BMI Concessions, operated by John Butler plead […]

Bloomington: Did the Council just screw you?

By: Diane Benjamin Tari Renner attended the Township meeting held before the Council met at 6:00, but then left claiming he had an appointment. Maybe he didn’t want to discuss a mandatory mask ordinance. Several on the Council would jump at the chance to enforce draconian rules when we know where all the new cases […]

Bloomington Tonight

By: Diane Benjamin Remember: the Coliseum the citizens didn’t want? the first manager and some staff were arrested for stealing your money? the second management company couldn’t meet expectations? the disaster it has been for taxpayers? I hear it has a new manager: Jim Karch. (Demoted Former head of Public Works) Maybe the City Manager […]

Bloomington Payments tonight

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and payroll 7-13-2020 A total of $12,599,344.25 will be approved tonight.  Unlike Normal, payroll is actually listed.  $5,216,642.14 of that amount is employees.  $1,633,607.61 is Wire transfers listed at the end, not enough details is available to know what most of them are.  I don’t remember the last time somebody asked about […]

What about the money Bloomington owes VenuWorks?

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington has been paying VenuWorks $4,999.98 sporadically since 2016, payments are marked loan principle.  This story says why:   https://blnnews.com/2016/10/06/so-bloomington-claims/ The short version:  VenuWorks paid John Butler (CIAM) for equipment at the Coliseum.  The City is reimbursing them for that purchase.  The total was $299,999, no interest, payments over 5 […]

Bloomington – Monday Payments

By:  Diane Benjamin A little history: A lot of department spending at the City of Bloomington is done by PCard.  Since December isn’t a month with conferences to attend and employees are more likely to take time off, it shouldn’t be a surprise PCard spending is lower than usual: https://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=23757 https://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=23995 January: https://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=24210 February: So […]

Coliseum: Embarrassing!

By:  Diane Benjamin If you haven’t heard, the trial for John Butler as a result from his time managing the Coliseum got delayed again.  It will supposedly happen on August 10th. More event reports have been posted, all show a profit.  See if you can figure out what is embarrassing about this one: VenuWorks is […]

Arena Events – all profits!

By:  Diane Benjamin https://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-1817 4 ISU hockey events are also posted.  Even with dismal attendance the profits were:  $1,727.26, $2,269.16, $2,458.26, and $1,997.42.  Most of the profit is from charging $2000 to play there. This year the City projected Arena: revenues of $4,883,795 expenses of $5,219,846  –  for a loss of $336,051. For the year […]

Coliseum and Hockey

By:  Diane Benjamin VenuWorks finally posted 2 hockey reports for the new league playing at the Coliseum.  (Grossinger Motors Arena is too long folks) The memo states these are the top two teams in the League, a new one from here will be playing next year.  I do not know why these two games were […]

VenuWorks and the Farmers Market

By:  Diane Benjamin The Coliseum didn’t come close to making the projected profit before it was built.  Now it is being recreated as a community asset. At more than one City Council meeting it has been announced that around 1000 people attend the indoor Farmers Markets held at the Coliseum.  Note:  Nobody ever claims these […]

Bloomington Council: Transparency joke PLUS cannabis Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin The Council held an Executive Session on December 9th to review minutes of previous Executive Sessions.  Review is required by the Open Meetings Act.  The cabal then votes on what minutes no longer need to be kept confidential. See PDF page 46:  http://bloomingtonil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1052&Inline=True The Council voted to keep minutes that are 24 […]

Trolls Live Scores, attendance dismal

By:  Diane Benjamin Unlike the BCPA who think event reports aren’t important, VenuWorks posts theirs.  This proves the difference between a company that can be fired and City employees who know nobody cares if they do their job.  The BCPA hasn’t posted any event reports since the last time I FOID’d them.  Thanks for the […]

Hockey AGAIN?

By:  Diane Benjamin Here’s my take on today’s hockey announcement: Hockey can show a profit for VenuWorks if they are smarter than in the past. ISU is only charged $2000 to play at the Coliseum, the ticket sales are dismal so they might not break even.  At least they aren’t bleeding for the privilege of […]

Connect Transit: Empty Buses and Brains

By:  Diane Benjamin After NOT posting the Agenda for today’s meeting 48 hours in advance as required by the Open Meetings Act (LAW!), yesterday Connect moved the meeting and thought people would magically know:    https://www.connect-transit.com/about/trustees/cttf_working_group/agendas.asp No surprise, they didn’t have enough people for a quorum, some members of the public went to the wrong […]

How much the ARENA really lost

By:  Diane Benjamin Remember the celebrations when VenuWorks announced they ONLY lost $276,367? They budgeted a loss of $495,514, so everybody happily reported they lost less than expected.  See PDF page 27:  https://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=23151 Long time readers won’t be surprised to learn the auditors didn’t agree with the  VenuWorks accounting. The audited financial report has appeared […]

Surprise, surprise – event report posted

By:  Diane Benjamin Update to this story from yesterday:  https://blnnews.com/2019/10/16/tari-on-wjbc-3/ Usually when there is good news people like to report it quickly.  The Luke Combs concert profit is good news, why it wasn’t posted as required by the arena contract is a mystery. https://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=23305 Country music concerts always do well.  If VenuWorks had self-promoted this […]