Susan Kalter: Explain your meeting to the Attorney General

By:  Diane Benjamin See previous stories: https://blnnews.com/2020/07/16/looks-like-a-revolt-at-isu/ https://blnnews.com/2020/07/20/isu-when-you-hear-from-the-attorney-general-just-plead-guilty/ Today I was notified by the Public Access office of the Attorney General they are going to investigate whether the first faculty meeting violated the Open Meetings Act. Excerpts: See the entire document I received:  63926 FI Letter When Kalter or ISU responds the Attorney General’s office […]

McBride proves why he shouldn’t be a Trustee

By:  Diane Benjamin The WGLT story about last night’s Normal Town Council meeting doesn’t mention RC McBride voted for the water rate increase:    http://www.wglt.org/post/water-fee-increase-solar-group-buy-making-repeat-appearances-normal Readers are left to surmise he did. This one is worse: I reported this story back on February 28:    https://blnnews.com/2019/02/28/ag-investigating-town-of-normal-again/ WJBC reported it on March 4:    http://www.wjbc.com/2019/03/04/normal-mayor-probed-for-alleged-open-meetings-act-violations/?fbclid=IwAR0mVvQsAVBRPrRVSWllpx_YPGc2YvMk0iHXYXWS0AWvxrBG0FXLxYbmvCg The […]

AG Investigating Town of Normal AGAIN

BY;;  Diane Benjamin The Town of Normal continues to have an illegal public comment policy.  Normal was forced to change the policy in 2017 when the Attorney General told them they can not have a policy that allows a citizen to only speak every 45 days.  Instead of slapping the Town’s entire policy into oblivion, […]

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 […]

100% Transparent Tari? Proof you aren’t!

By:  Diane Benjamin If you missed Tari’s State of the City address last Monday you can see my recap and listen to it here:   https://blnnews.com/2019/01/15/taris-state-of-the-city/ Recycling his talking points, Tari once again proclaimed the Illinois Policy Institute “continues” to give the City an A+ transparency score. Disregarding IPI discontinued the program in 2014, their transparency […]

Normal is guilty and not guilty

By:  Diane Benjamin I filed a Request for Review with Lisa Madigans’s Public Access office on January 18, 2018.  The request was for a ruling on the budget workshop held by the Town of Normal that was not posted as a meeting with an agenda, time, and place.  I received a ruling yesterday. 5 ILCS […]

Normal: Investigated and sued

By:  Diane Benjamin The Attorney General’s Public Access office is investigating the Town of Normal for a meeting they held on January 18th.  No agenda was posted for this meeting.  That is a violation of the Open Meetings Act because the public was not notified this meeting was going to take place. The only information […]

BREAK Normal’s Attitude!

By:  Diane Benjamin The Town of Normal doesn’t want citizens showing up at meetings like they do in Bloomington.  That is the reason their Public Comment policy requires citizens to sign up 2 hours before a meeting, not just walk in a fill out a card. Remember the November 6, 2017 meeting where your property […]

Normal: Your government is FIXED

By:  Diane Benjamin The citizens of Normal probably already knew “outsiders” aren’t allowed to participate in their government, how many Trustees have quit during their term so the Mayor could appoint a replacement?  The last Mayor did the same thing so incumbents have an edge in the next election.  I expect Chris Koos to do […]

Hilarious Jason Chambers

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday’s paper had a front-page story concerning a filing by Jason Chamber’s office with the Attorney General for Open Meeting Act violations.  He has been waiting 17 months for a determination.  The story claims his office can only prosecute violations for 18 months. First, Welcome to our world Jason!  The request filed […]

When Lawyers Don’t Care About the Law

By:  Diane Benjamin Long time readers know finding a prosecutor is almost impossible.  Public corruption prosecutions must be demanded by many people before equal justice under the law actually exists. Then there is McGrath Law Office in Mackinaw.  These guys represent many small units of government who evidently aren’t capable of reading the Open Meetings […]

Library investigated for OMA

By:  Diane Benjamin Remember the two illegal meetings held by the library board because they weren’t posted 48 hours in advance?  https://blnnews.com/2017/06/20/followup-illegal-meetings/ Keep in mind I notified both the Sheriff and the State’s Attorney’s office prior to the meetings, they did nothing to stop the crime of violating the Open Meetings Act.  Law for government […]

Zero Transparency, ISU, and more

By:  Diane Benjamin The Bills and Payroll the Council approved for payment last night have never been posted on the City website:  http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-500 I wonder if the council was given a paper version or if they just approved spending without knowing what the voted on?  Keep in mind – these are the same people who […]

Laws are immaterial

By:  Diane Benjamin The ruling by the Attorney General’s Public Access office against the City of Bloomington is completely meaningless.  Read the entire ruling here:  17-004 The only penalty for the Bloomington City Council violating the Open Meetings Act by holding an illegal Executive Session is: The tape of the meeting must be released The […]

Followup to a previous story

By:  Diane Benjamin I’m only writing because I received a ruling from the Attorney General yesterday regarding the Bloomington Election Commission’s violation of the Open Meetings Act. It still stands that I am not going to work for mostly free.  If everything I have exposed the last five years isn’t worth $5 or $10 a […]

Koos, Council: Shut up citizens!

By:  Diane Benjamin Last night the Normal Town Council defied the Attorney General’s letter and made only minor changes to their Public Comment Policy.  They relied on the opinion of their City Attorney Brian Day who formerly worked for the Illinois Municipal League. First, you need to understand what the IML is.  See this story:  […]

Normal: What the media is missing!

By:  Diane Benjamin Evidently the media can’t read or they have a short attention span and can’t make it through the 7 page Attorney General letter declaring Normal’s Public Comment Policy illegal. It is MUCH more than the 45 day rule.  That one was a no brainer! See the changes Normal is planning to make […]

Do laws matter? Who knows

By:  Diane Benjamin I filed yet another Request for Review with the Attorney General’s office asking them to investigated the Executive Session where the Council decided to disband Metro Zone.  The conversations should have taken place in public, not behind closed doors.  The City claimed “Probably Litigation” as the excuse for holding a secret meeting […]

Council is immaterial now

By:  Diane Benjamin Under former Mayor Steve Stockton the Liquor Commission was headed by Stockton, but at least 5 citizens served on the Commission with him. Tari Renner decided on his own to only have two people on the Commission.  He got rid of the long time Commission members and picked two people he wanted.  […]

Renner’s Big Mouth

By:  Diane Benjamin Is the Metro Zone fight between Bloomington and Normal REAL, or a campaign stunt? I’m leaning toward real. Side Note: Normal’s budget for 2016-2017 was more than $120 MILLION.  The estimated $1.2 million Normal would lose from Metro Zone represents 1% of their total budget.  The Normal Town Council had no problem […]

Remember when Judy Stearns walked out . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin It was way back in November of 2013 when Judy Stearns walked out of what she called an illegal Executive Session (Secret Meeting). She filed a Request for Review with Lisa Madigan’s Public Access office – they didn’t bother doing much with the filing until Judy was long out of office.  She […]

Since Lisa Madigan failed in 2014 . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin A few weeks ago I wrote about an Open Meeting Act violation Lisa Madigan’s Public Access office was asked to review.  It was filed in 2014 against the Bloomington Election Commission and evidently lost because no ruling was made until I asked for the resolution.  First they claimed the number I provided […]

Stanford and the State’s Attorney

By:  Diane Benjamin Back in June the Village of Stanford Board approved a contract to tear down a house after a presentation by a relative of two board members.  The presentation and vote were not on the agenda, so that vote was illegal. See two stories:  HERE On the agenda under Legal – Mark McGrath […]

BGA on Madigan’s Public Access

I was interviewed for this story WEEKS ago, glad to see this is STATE problem.  The story is published on the Better Government Association website:  http://www.bettergov.org/news/illinois-foia-appeals-linger-with-no-end-in-sight Illinois FOIA Appeals Linger With No End In Sight Lengthy appeals process, non-binding decisions hamper ability to obtain records through Illinois Freedom of Information Act. After Edgar County corrections […]

Stand up to Lisa Madigan

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington resident April Huber isn’t sitting by and letting Illinois Attorney General get by with not doing her job.  She asked me to post this information. I would not have been forced to file a lawsuit against the City of Bloomington concerning the Coliseum if Lisa Madigan’s office had done their job.  […]

AG: Pending cases against Bloomington

By:  Diane Benjamin The Public Access division of the Attorney General’s office was designed to hold government accountable and give citizens a voice. As with Judy Stearns’ case against the City for violating the Open Meetings Act, justice can take years of mostly no action. I lost count of how many Request for Reviews have […]

More Renner violations

By:  Diane Benjamin Why are Minutes missing from Liquor Commission meetings?  The LAW requires approval within 30 days or the next meeting.  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=9530 Citizen Bruce Meeks filed a Request for Review with the Attorney General and they agreed to investigate:  42623 FI Let Meeks alleges: The 5/24/16 meeting did not have a quorum The only […]

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 […]

Madigan too busy

By:  Diane Benjamin Some points of law are never settled because government refused to act.  Lisa Madigan’s Public Access office is doing just that. Remember many years ago when Judy Stearns filed a complaint against Tari Renner for violating the Open Meetings Act?  It was right after he got elected.  He decided winning an election […]

Let’s see if CIRA gets it

By:  Diane Benjamin The Central Illinois Regional Airport is owned by taxpayers.  It isn’t a private company doing whatever it wants – it just acts like it. The meeting minutes aren’t posted on their website.  No agendas and no meeting dates either. That means they are violation of the Open Meetings Act! I thought CIRA […]