Chronicle’s Corn Fest 2011

ear of cornDeKalb Corn Fest just filed its IRS Form 990 this month for calendar/fiscal year 2011.

Let’s add the numbers to our chart:

[table id=75 /]

Corn Fest was able to to reduce its costs over the previous year. Unfortunately, its revenues took another dive. This (along with the sorry parking fee revenue total for 2012) is consistent with our hypothesis that Corn Fest is back downtown because it was dying at the airport, no matter what public officials say about it.

I’m calling it “Chronicle’s Corn Fest” for fun, though it really isn’t funny. In fact, let’s talk.

According to the 990, a big change for 2011 is that DeKalb Corn Fest officially moved its home from the Chamber of Commerce to the Daily Chronicle (as we suspected since the Chronicle is also the official home of the Corn Fest liquor and event licenses).

I’m uncomfortable with the relationships here. Corn Fest is one of City of DeKalb’s special friends, and one of the benefits is that the taxpayers subsidize Corn Fest by supplying some $60,000 worth of public works, emergency and security services annually. Corn Fest also pays out $10,000, $15,000 or even more for publicity each year, and we know the Chronicle runs Corn Fest ads.

Unless I’m mistaken, this creates the perception of a poor media watchdog on city government, at least as concerns Corn Fest aid, liquor license enforcement and board members’ potential conflicts of interest. It’s an incestuously bad idea.

You can access Corn Fest’s 990s back to 2004, no matter who it belongs to, at Foundation Center’s 990 Finder without having to register.