Five former management officials at what was previously known as the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Illinois have been named in 111 indictments. According to The Pantagragh, the ex-officials are being charged with fraud, theft, and money laundering at the city-owned venue. The arena is now named the Gossinger Motors Arena.
The Central Illinois Arena Management employees being charged include President John Y. Butler, General Manager Bart Rogers and Finance Director of CIAM’s concession provider Jay C. Laesch, Food and Beverage Director Paul E. Grazar, and Assistant General Manager of Finance Kelly W. Klein. Indictments were returned on Sept. 20 by a McClean County judge after all five defendants posted bail.
In 2016, Bloomington officials asked the Illinois State Police department to look into the financial operations of the U.S. Cellular Coliseum. Concerns arose as city officials were going over the books in an effort to hand over operations to VenuWorks in 2016. CIAM had managed the building since it opened in 2006.
The 18-month investigation by the police and the Illinois Department of Revenue, police released a statement Monday (Sept. 25) that said they “conducted a thorough investigation and presented their findings to the McLean County state’s attorney. On Sept. 20, 2017, a grand jury convened and signed indictments on the five suspects.”
Butler has been accused of stealing more than $1.1 million of city money from May 2010 to March 2016. There are currently 58 charges filed against him for money laundering, wire fraud, filing false sales tax returns, conspiracy to commit tax evasion and theft of government funds. His last count of theft stems from just days before CIAM’s 10 year management deal with the city expired. Butler could be facing up to 30 years in prison.
Rogers has been accused of 13 counts of theft of government funds. Klein has been charged with theft and money laundering. Grazar is looking at three charges of theft, money laundering, tax evasion and conspiracy to commit tax evasion and Laesch is charged with the same activities as Butler.
The state police have said the investigation is ongoing.