Sunday, March 14, 2010

FireFly Closer to Burning Bright

So wrote Molly Parker, reporter for the JS in May of 2007. The resolution by the County to guarantee, along with the city, a six million dollar loan to FireFly by National City Bank, State Representative Dave Leitch, Vice-President, who personally urged the County Board to approve this loan. Quoting Ms. Parker,"The resolution passed both committees by voice vote with no one registering a nay, though Merle Widmer said he thought 'government had gotten off track quite a bit' when it comes to aiding private businesses with taxpayer dollars."

On 4/9/04, JS reporter Angela Green wrote, "This, in a business sense, is one of the worst decisions you can make...you are absolutely betraying the people you represent," Widmer told fellow board members. If we are in the Venture Capital business, I don't think the people elected you to proceed in this way."

I raised many questions about both of these loans, some which appear in the minutes of the meetings on FireFly loans. "Does the County have a history of guaranteeing bank loans? What is the risk to National City Bank? Where is the $20 million equity FireFly is bringing to the table? Has most of it been expensed out? At the rate FireFly is burning though equity, what reason is there to believe they won't be coming back asking for more money?( I have called attention several times to the fact that the Peoria Riverfront Museum Committee has 'expensed out' $11+ of the $13 million it has raised in cash) I also asked is FireFly was using corporate blackmail by intimating that "If we don't give them the money, they will move to Michigan or somewhere else. Sounds like a threat".

I summed up by saying "I do not like the way this deal was presented to us and the inability of our administrator to answer hard questions."

Let no one accuse me of any hindsight. I asked all the hard questions but garnered little support from the board, administration, community, and certainly no support from ANY of our elected officials.

Peoria County Administrator, Patrick Urich, in helping sell the loan guarantee is quoted in the JS, "Ultimately, this is new ground for Peoria County but he told the committee it was a worthwhile investment because the company has promised to keep it's headquarter here......and FireFly will give the city and county stock warrants valued at 8% of the $6 million dollar loan."

13 comments:

C. J. Summers said...

Why did you vote in favor of the loan guarantee?

Anonymous said...

Michael Weibring

writes he trying to make amends to do right thing you don't understand those kind of decisions summers

Anonymous said...

Michael Weibring

woo do realize 6 million on firefly, 6 million for the hotel total 12 million pissed away like a nickel or two
and city deficit 12 million, total 24 million gone in a flash

woo needs enemies when got the leaders to make city the worst place ever have it go bust

charge it to diane she got the tough I don't

Merle Widmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Merle Widmer said...

My answer to C. J. was removed by me as I pushed the wrong garbage button.

Syd,

I spelled out my answer. Why don't you attack the other 17 board members who voted for the loan??

I have reason to suspect that you are a free spending Democrat and perhaps a board member???

Merle Widmer said...

The message I erased by accident was a reply to C.J. Summers. Basically, it said my one secret vote was not going to change the outcome. Also, to read all my blogs on the subject. The County Board Administration and most all other board members were campaigning for the loan, some under pressure from the unions.

I had made my position known many times. But sometimes you save your vote for a cause that may not be lost. My position on this was a lost cause.

Everyone of any prominence in the community supported this loan.

Including the JSEB.

I also suggested that C.J. run for public office or at least attend some of the 120 or so open County meetings so he could hear what I say as the JS only can print bites.

Anonymous said...

Michael Weibring

writes billy you can run up and attack me, bust me one in the gut with a bolo punch big billy

communication of this information sounds like right thing to do, isn't that true

Anonymous said...

Marlia Carlia writes

lets send are leaders to normal illinois as nazi spies to sink the place, do what they are good at

Merle Widmer said...

Syd,

I'm saying what you already know. The standard procedure is to vote by the automatic device each board uses. That's secret.

If done by voice, all vote at once so indeed the vote is secret.

Seldom is each individual polled and asked whether they are voting yea or nay.

In guaranteeng this loan, the record will show no one knew for certain how anyone was voting until the votes were cast ALL AT ONE TIME,

That's a secret vote, totally different from Obama's proposed union card check

Peoria Anti Pundit said...

No, this whole thing smells of the good ol boy network common in GOP type right wing Conservative thought which is why Merle voted for it. It was the Republican thing to do. Tax the taxpayers money, give it to business, hope they hire some workers. Trickle down? Let's see... Leitch, Ardis, Carver, all big R's

Merle Widmer said...

Sure, you are right, Randall Emert. Just like you are a "soft Democrat".

Ha, ha.

Pick one of the few on the County Board who has railed against special interests because I'm an easy mark for people of your ilk.

Attend a County Board Committee or full board meetig sometime. It's easy to critize when you don't particpate in the democratic process.

Sud O. Nym said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.