Saturday, March 13, 2010

County/City Elected Officials Decisions

Seldom have I seen in the past 15 or so years so many made so many decisions negatively affecting taxpayer dollars made by elected officials. FireFly is just one. I was on the County Tax/EDC Committee when recommendations for the original GAP County Loan to FireFly, paid off in 2009; I received no notice of the payoff, were made by Sally Hanley, representing the Economic Development Committee, Division of the Heartland Partnership. It is a branch of this group that brings the "paperwork" to this county committee on Gap loans. More on the description of a GAP Loan in a later blog.

Quoting from the Minutes of the October, 27. 2005 County Tax/EDC Committee, "Mr.Widmer expressed concern over (1) the speed with which FireFly was consuming it's income, (two officers totalled about one half million dollars in yearly salaries) (2) the past and current lack of any bank involvement, (3) the fact that FireFly already received financial support from the state, (more on this later) FireFly's inability to commit to expand in Peoria County if successful.

Other questions, I asked or stated were, the loan did not meet GAP loan criteria, no individual equity by the founders, (AN ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT) no tangible assets to claim ion event of default.

When the vote to make the loan was called I was the only one to vote no in committee. When the full board voted on this loan, I was joined by Carol Trumpe, Brian Elsasser and Bob Baietto. All Democrats voted yes along with Republican Tim Riggenback, who I have noted before, has seldom seen a dime of taxpayer money he wouldn't like to spend. Tim is now on the City Council. On the night the full board voted 14-4 to make the loan, neither of the founders were in attendance. When I asked, "why not", Ms. Hanley informed me, "they were in Chicago meeting with their investors". I challenged, "but they have no investors". My challenge went un-answered.

See my blog as this will be a series, as this boondoogle was something made for a Hollywood script, sometimes, perhaps out of sequence as I do not get paid for blogging. Nor do I brag about my journalism which I never studied formally.


Rick Fox said...


I told you I'd read and comment on your blog. On most topics I disagree with you. I do generally think that that government, at all levels, is willing to accept the risks (and the eventual costs) and leave the profits to the private sector. This is silly.

Merle Widmer said...


You do not have to read my blogs nor do you have to agree with me. Nor do I have to agree with you. I stand by what I wrote.

I suggest you believe in more and bigger government.

I don't as the polls in 2012 will hopefully show. Maybe even in 2010.

Government assumes the risks with taxpayer dollars and leaves the profits with AIG and GM (General Goverment Motors)?

Is that how you justify the financial mess almost every level of goverment is in?