Saturday, November 07, 2009

Peoria Riverfront Museum: Big Lies, Ignorance of Facts, Huge Egos, or All Aboard the Titantic?

A document received from Lakeview Museum on October, 22, 2009, addressed to the Peoria County Administrator, indicated that only $14,244,543 has been collected out of $73,285,140 pledged to the Museum Project. Since then, $5 million was appropriated from the State of Illinois Capital Development Fund via the DNR to be given to the Peoria County for "costs associated with construction and development of the PRM."

Here are some details:

In a page titled "PMR Capital Budget - March 2008 Version"??? are conflicting figures on the underground parking facility stating "Parking Garage Costs (132 stalls), $9,272,856." Or a scaled down version minus $1,522,500". The roughly $7 1/2 million garage cost as stated by our consultant, Mark Johnson. Scaled down means what is being compromised?

Quoting from the letter, "PRM Reduced Budget w/parking $79,486,662." Continuing, "Unfunded priorities - PRM totals $13,332,249 which includes Endowment Enhancement of $7,000,000. (At one time a PRM CEO said and endowment of $14 million was sought which is probably closer to the truth. At 5% interest, an additional $700,000 would help meet operating costs deficits.

The letter also has a heading "Spend through Sept. 2009 - $3,945,766." Apparently, that amount of funds raised is already spent.

Back to the endowment. The day the PRM and County Administration gave the full Peoria County Board their proposal, the proposal on which the County Board voted 15 to 1, this proposal clearly stated that PRM would guarantee $3 million with another $2 million assumed. Later on, our County Financial Officer said the Endowment should be $7 million with $11 million preferred.

On 8/14/08, the PRM released a fact sheet in which they called for an $8 million endowment with construction starting in 2009. "Caterpillar has set a deadline of 7/1/2009, for their funding support or they will pull the plug on the project."
Also, the museum signed a letter of intent to purchase $460,000 of planetarium equipment and that grant will expire on December 31, 2009.

I have a letter from Mark Johnson, then with Caterpillar, "Representative Ray LaHood has already obtained for infrastructure (primarily parking) improvements on the block. Johnson says that $3.8 of that money is still available for the garage". The Caterpillar pledge of $1.2 million toward the garage still stands.

On 3/7/09, just 8 months ago, Brad McMillan, Chairman, Friends of Build the Block, said in the JS Spotlight "the museum is supported with 57% of private funds and in the April 2009 edition of IB, Senator Dave Koehler and Representative David Leitch were quoted "Build the block is supported with 57% in private funds" (Do I hear an echo??) Details, please, and why is so much of the private money, certainly no where close to 57%, in pledges that can be easily cancelled? And have been to the tune of $556,000 prior to June 30, 2008. Yes, that's 2008. How many pledges cancelled AFTER June 30, 2008?

John Sharp of the JS reported last year that "Kathleen Woith, a Lakeview spokesperson said for the $67 million of the $78 million needed for the museum on the "private" side has been raised."

Pray tell, where are all these "Private" funds and why does this October letter to Peoria County Administrator Patrick Urich have fund raising columns headed "Assumed", "Likely", and Exploring," the later being at the time, $17,435,500 minus the $5,000,000 announced appropriated by from the IDNR.

And lastly, today's JS, quoted Peoria County Administrator, Patick Urich, "The county has the legal authority to raise as much as $40 million in sales taxes, and the $5.5 million difference would go a long was toward helping out with the museum's endowment."



Karrie E. Alms said...

Merle: Does Gov. Quinn need to sign this $5M public infusion and then the state has to bond out for this capital package of debt?

Another bill which has $100,000 set aside for the Peoria Neighborhood Alliance, among many projects for Peoria and other cities is not able to be sold --- seems that there are no buyers for more Illinois debt.

Whatever happened to saving funds so the government could pay as they go like a well run household?

Each citizen would be bankrupt if their household finances were managed like the government whether local, state or feds.

Merle Widmer said...

Yes, the governor has to sign and he will.

It appears there is always a private entity and investors willing to take the risk and buy the bonds if the rate of return is high enough.

I know of no state ever going broke. They can get the money from the citizenry by "hook or crook."
Public entities are absolutely not to take the same risk as the private sector because they are risking OPM.

Anonymous said...

Steve J Weibring

write this is my opinion, isn't thing kind of screwed up. Everyone jobs first not healthcare, musuem.

but they screw the officers out of their careers to force the musuem in, then rather sell the land to bridge the defecit

area of knoxville will run wild then with looting and pulling their heaters ou

And if they pass the healthcare and costs us money still for premuyms what good is it to most of us, if the government can't fix employment

Anonymous said...

Rod Mckiminson

writes this is rod why doesn't the city fire a ton of policemen, firemen, city street workers, steal all the money and go to jamica where they green peas

who can be more ruthless our company or the city aye ha ha

Anonymous said...

Steve J Weibring

maybe alter the slogan of build block

if the getting rid of one policeman saves 100,000

we could say to build block fire a policeman like the geico commercial 15 minutes could save 15%