Michael Bryant, CEO of Methodist Hospital and at one time Chairman of the failed Peoria Riverfront Museum Fund Raising Drive was quoted in the Illinois Business Magazine, March 2009 issue, "Build a Block couldn't have come at a better time". In the January, 2008, Mr. Bryant was quoted in the same magazine as saying "Today, the total Museum Square cost is $127.7 million of which 65% or $85.6 million is pledged and committed". In the same magazine, in April of 2008, Mr. Bryant is quoted the project will bring upwards of 400,000 per year to downtown Peoria"
On December 11, 2008, Mr. Bryant sent me a letter stating that $71 million in private funding was in hand (90% of the needed $77 million).
On March 6, at a presentation for support of the Museum Tax, Lakeview CEO Jim Richerson said that $6 million in cash was on hand and approximately $9 million in pledges. That didn't didn't include Caterpillar Foundation pledge of $11 million(Over half a million in pledges were cancelled in fiscal year 2008)
Only $6 million in cash when Bank President Doug Stewart said "when you already have $20 million in the bank", JS, 12/4/05, and the JSEB said on 10/19/05, "with $20 million in pledges so far".
My, how figures fly all over the place but I think these "figures" may copme home to roost. Whether in time to get all these "facts" out to the public in time , remains to be seen.
Mr. Richerson reiterated (it was first revealed in Thursday's JS) that even with the $40 million from the tax referendum, the funding for the project would still be short $11 million.
What say, Mr. Bryant? Still 11 million short when the country may be in a depresion?
Not mentioned was that over $4 million of new museum had already been spent (gone) on consultants, planning, etc.
Back to Mr. Bryant. On 11/07/08, the JS reported "Methodist delays renovation project". "Methodist Medical Center will delay the final two stages of its $400 million hospital renovation project until tight money conditions in the credit market loosen and will wait to break ground on its acute care hospital. etc., until the spring of 2010. On the advise of our investment bankers and other, we just think it is prudent.....
On 2/25/09, the JS reported "Methodist Medical Center tightens its belt", raises, 401(k) matches suspended: hiring limited to 'critical positions'. CEO Bryant said "the uncertain economic environment demands that we make responsible spending decisions now to address what we believe will be a continuation of this situation throughout 2009".
On 3/6/09, the JS reported "Methodist CEO Bryant announced the layoffs of of 60 full time employees." Mentioned by Mr Bryant that an escalating number of patients losing their health insurance as people lose jobs during a faltering economy caused $25 to 30 million in bad debts".
Michael Bryant appears to be some great guy. The reader can determine whether he meets the definition of the title of the blog. Stick these people with a sales tax for a museum yet charging these same people to pay $8-12 just to get inside the building, plus pay-for-parking, of course.
I quote ECCLESIASTES 1:14, "I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit".
Renowned Cultural Historian Robert Hewiston says "Individually, museums are fine institutions; collectively, their growth in numbers points to the imaginative death of this country. Amen.