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 […]

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 […]

The CIAM Grand Jury

By:  Diane Benjamin Some local media have reported on the grand jury testimony which laid out the case against the 5 former Coliseum Managers. The City of Bloomington continues to claim they did not know about improprieties at the Coliseum until VenuWorks took over in July of 2016. The local media continues to let them […]

Charges to be re-filed against John Butler

By:  Diane Benjamin The charges previously dismissed by a judge against John Butler for theft from the Coliseum are going to be re-filed on January 2nd. A reader asked me after he noticed an arraignment scheduled on the County website.  I emailed State’s Attorney Don Knapp and asked him what was going on, this was […]

The media won’t report this!

By:  Diane Benjamin Long time readers know the former Coliseum managers would issue their financial statements, and then the auditor would issue theirs.  The media always reported the CIAM numbers but never the audited numbers. Audited losses were much higher! The media is continuing to report fake news because the audited number from VenuWorks aren’t […]

Coliseum – one guilty

By:  Diane Benjamin One of the 5 charged in connection with the Coliseum pleaded guilty yesterday.  See this Pantagraph story:   https://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/guilty-former-bloomington-arena-official-gets-fine-probation-after-plea/article_00b6cb16-2aeb-5558-9614-2a50e543d503.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-2 One part of the story doesn’t make any sense: ________________________ I hope these numbers aren’t what the entire case against the five is based on.  The commissions don’t make any sense either. According to […]

Pantagraph fails again

By:  Diane Benjamin John Butler wants his trial moved out of McLean County because of remarks made by David Hales and Tari Renner.  I was also mentioned as a reason because my lawsuit made him look guilty!  Yes it did!   Since MANY readers are new, this story recaps the information I was able to obtain:  […]

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 […]

Miscellaneous:

By:  Diane Benjamin The next time you are present when Tari talks about his transparency award – please start laughing! Bills and Payroll for Monday night are not posted.  Normally delaying them means they are hiding something.   (as of 10:30 Saturday morning)    http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-1609 They know what they are paying because the total is on the […]

Just something interesting – CIAM

By:  Diane Benjamin Every once in a while I have to clean up some files.  I found a FOIA request I received in December of 2015. It clearly shows that John Butler and CIAM pretended they had no responsibility to the City of Bloomington and the taxpayers forced to cover their losses.  I remember filing […]

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 […]

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 […]

What David Hales never checked-CIAM

By:  Diane Benjamin The 10 year agreement with CIAM to manage the Coliseum contained numerous paragraphs granting the City rights to everything happening at the Coliseum.  Tari Renner, David Hales, and the Council either never read the agreement or are lying because they failed to protect taxpayers from John Butler and company. See the agreement […]

WGLT does journalism – mostly

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday WGLT published a comprehensive story about the Coliseum.  Ryan Denham  proved journalism isn’t dead in Bloomington-Normal yet.  Read the story here:      http://wglt.org/post/how-coliseum-blind-spot-tripped-bloomington-city-leaders I do have some comments and things I would have written differently: To much emphasis was put on the “bad contract”.  The contract had plenty of statements allowing […]

The day CIAM quit

By:  Diane Benjamin This is the Pantagraph story announcing CIAM (John Butler) would not be renewing the contract to manage the Coliseum:  http://www.pantagraph.com/entertainment/u-s-cellular-coliseum-to-receive-new-management/article_194a2f7c-d482-5d82-8885-7e5eafddb2b4.html That was March 8, 2016.  Tari Renner is quoted saying CIAM might get a short-term contract to help with the transition – maybe 30-60-or 90 days.  Obviously Renner had no urgency to remove […]

MY Coliseum timeline

By:  Diane Benjamin Below are some of the stories I’ve written about the Coliseum.   Some are opinions, some questions, and some proven facts.  This isn’t everything, but it’s enough to prove the 5 Coliseum employees would NOT be under indictment of I hadn’t started investigating in 2013! Each link has a quote from the […]

Audits? The Coliseum was audited!

By:  Diane Benjamin The oldest story I wrote about the Coliseum is from December 2013:  https://blnnews.com/2013/12/11/coliseum-bleeding-bloomington-taxpayers/ But, look at this story from February 2014:  https://blnnews.com/2014/02/06/is-coliseum-management-giving-bloomington-their-share/ First lines of the story: Operations of the Coliseum are extremely complicated.  Management hired by the City is operating some functions without any over-sight or accountability.  The taxpayers deserve to […]

John Butler back at GMA?

By:  Diane Benjamin Former Central Illinois Arena Management (CIAM) head, John Butler, might be back at the former Coliseum with the Bloomington Thunder hockey team. Even though the State Police investigation hasn’t wrapped up yet (as far as we know), an investor in the Thunder has purchased a majority interest in the Peoria Rivermen where […]

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 […]

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.  […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

Court this THURSDAY

By:  Diane Benjamin Neither defendant responded to my latest court filing! Did they finally give up? Court might get as hot as it’s going to be outside. Start time is 1:15, Courtroom 5C.  The media won’t be there, so I hope YOU are. I’ve been writing about the Coliseum for YEARS.  For new readers, this […]

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 […]

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 […]