Bloomington ticket scandal grew fangs, watchdog group says
The alleged cover-up of in the case of Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner and a city-purchased airline ticket could be worse than the original crime, the founders of the Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW) said on "Illinois Watchdog Radio" recently.
Kirk Allen and John Kraft discussed the airline ticket Renner bought so that his girlfriend could accompany him on a trip to a sister city in Japan and for which she reimbursed the city three weeks later. The purchase was done with a city credit card, which is against the law, but the real problem happened afterward, as the story kept changing, the ECW founders said.
“All they really had to do was say, ‘Hey, sorry. It won’t happen again -- didn’t know we were breaking the law,’” Kraft said. "Even on the first round of the media, I didn’t hear any claims that she was considered an ambassador to the sister cities committee, and it wasn’t till the second round of media blitz that he went on that I first heard of the claim that she was now considered an official ambassador to the sister cities committee.”
Kraft and Allen also talked about similar incidents regarding elected officials throughout the state, some of which have led to charges and trials. Kraft made the case that citizens must monitor their local governments carefully and pursue seemingly small matters to ensure that laws governing officials’ behavior are followed.
“It happens everywhere,” Allen said. “It’s just most of us aren’t looking and trying to identify [it], and when we overlook the small ones it just gets bigger and bigger.”