College Town Partners is All About TIF

Yes, “is.” Emails obtained by Michael and Misty Haji-Sheikh of Preserve Our Neighborhoods show that even though collaborators ultimately rejected formal incorporation of College Town Partners in May 2014, the intention remained to suck sweet, sweet tax dollars out of City of DeKalb via Tax Increment Financing (not even getting into NIU and use of…

Tim Struthers Gave DeKalb’s Mayor Talking Points When the College Town Partners Story Broke

If you haven’t heard, banker Tim Struthers has been appointed by Governor Rauner to the NIU Board of Trustees, pending approval by the Illinois Senate. Trouble is, there’s compelling evidence of major conflicts of interest in his appointment, which the Edgar County Watchdogs have outlined admirably. Struthers presently serves on the DeKalb County Sanitary District,…

Mayor Rey’s Acceptance of NIU’s Gift of a Trip

Mayor Rey accepted the gift of a trip worth more than $1,000 in September 2013, according to Northern Illinois University records recently obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Rey and NIU President Doug Baker traveled to Moscow, Idaho, to foster better “town-gown” relations and to take in a football game between NIU and the…

Ron Walters’ Pay Arrangement with NIU

In her article about Ron Walter’s background and employment at Northern Illinois University under President Doug Baker, Kelly Bauer noted that the consultant was paid even when his calendar indicated he had no scheduled work. It appears Bauer intended to get to the bottom of it — the above article is labeled Part One —…

More on the NIU – Ron Walters Travel Funds Controversy

Earlier this month, the Daily Chronicle gave us an update: An audit of the university in March, completed by Illinois Auditor General William G. Holland, found that NIU had improperly reimbursed [Ron] Walters and also didn’t comply with a variety of guidelines for internal control and processes related to procurement and contracts. Walters had received…

NIU Must Think We Have Enough Info on College Town Partners Already

The latest in the College Town Partners saga is that NIU has apparently changed its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) policy. It now favors heavy redaction. The following is NIU’s response this week to a FOIA request made by Misty Haji-Sheikh of the north Fifth Ward group called Preserve Our Neighborhoods. Click on the Twitter…

Documents: College Town Partners NFP

For all of NIU’s having publicly “backed away” from a partnership for redevelopment with City of DeKalb et al last spring, it seems the institution had already secretly created a “charity” with a local developer and a banker in December 2013 for similar purposes. The documents were Tweeted to me. @citybarb60115 @DC_Editor yes they are,…

DeKalb Taxpayers: Ready to Pony Up for a New Convention Center?

In July 2013, the city council of DeKalb approved the DeKalb City Center plan, an update of the 2007 Downtown Revitalization Plan. One of the key components of the plan is: Leverage TIF to study the feasibility of and potentially promote the development of additional City Center traffic generators, such as a hotel/conference center, children’s…

Latest on the College Town Partners FOIA Matter

Let’s start with a summary of events. — The group now known as Preserve Our Neighborhoods (PON) was formed last spring in response to concerns that residents were not being included in DeKalb-NIU redevelopment plans that would directly affect them. — Misty Haji-Sheikh of PON received unsigned documents from an anonymous sender regarding a corporation…

AG is Reviewing DeKalb’s Denial of Information to Neighborhood Rep

The Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (PAC) has agreed to examine a City of DeKalb denial of information to a representative of a neighborhood group. Here’s the usual drill. Upon the PAC accepting a Request for Review it invites the public body to respond with the legal basis for denial. The response is shared…