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Illinois State Police Investigating Finances At U.S. Cellular Coliseum

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (CelebrityAccess) — Bloomington city officials have asked the Illinois State Police to pursue an investigation of past financial operations of U.S. Cellular Coliseum.

According to Bloomington-based newspaper The Pantagraph, officials declined to detail the nature of their concerns, but Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner told the newspaper in August that questions regarding the venue's finances arose during the coliseum's transition from operators Central Illinois Arena Management (CIAM) to the new managers, VenuWorks who came aboard at the venue earlier this year.

"Although the Coliseum’s accounts are audited every year by an independent audit firm and have received a clean opinion each year, the contract negotiation and management transition allowed us to do a much deeper dive," City Manager David Hales told the newspaper.

In a statement issued on Monday, CIAM President John Butler expressed his dismay and surprise at the investigation, and pledged that his organization would fully cooperate with the investigation.

"The Coliseum staff was a professional staff and I am confident there has been no wrongdoing and at the most only differences (were) in interpretation of the management agreement," Butler told the Pantagraph.

Since it opened in 2006, the coliseum has been operated by CIAM, but the organization withdrew from contract negotiations in March of this year as their 10-year contract expired.

At the time, Butler told WJBC Radio that the organization was backing out over differing views with the city on the role of private management.

“The city rightfully wants accountability, but controls and oversite (sic) that inject the city into the day-to-day operation of the Coliseum defeat the purpose of having a private management company,” Butler told WJBC. “The management company essentially becomes a department of the city. I am not willing to continue on that basis.” – Staff Writers