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Charges Dismissed Against Former Coliseum Finance Chief

Kelly Klein
David Proeber
/
The Pantagraph (Pool)
Kelly Klein was the assistant general manager for finance at Central Illinois Arena Management (CIAM), which ran the city-owned arena for 10 years.

Charges have been dismissed for one of the defendants in the Coliseum fraud case, with a judge saying the indictments were too vague and did not fall within the statute of limitations.

Kelly Klein was the assistant general manager for finance at Central Illinois Arena Management (CIAM), which ran the city-owned arena for 10 years. She was one of five former Coliseum managers charged in 2017 with running a multiyear fraud scheme that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the City of Bloomington.

Defense attorney Joel Brown filed a motion to dismiss the charges against Klein, 58, citing technical issues with the statute of limitations and a lack of specifics in the bills of indictment. Brown has said his client is innocent.

In a ruling Wednesday, Judge Michael Stroh dismissed all 12 counts against Klein.

“The charges are unusually vague as to what, if any, action was taken by either defendant or one (she) could be legally responsible for,” Stroh wrote. “Such vagueness does not adequately inform the defendant of the nature of the charge, nor does this specifically set forth conduct that would necessarily constitute a wrongful act (as required).”

Stroh dismissed charges against another Coliseum defendant, former arena GM Bart Rogers, in 2018 for similar reasons. But Rogers was later re-indicted. Those charges are pending.

The same could happen to Klein.

McLean County State’s Attorney Don Knapp said he’s only had a few preliminary conversations with his prosecutors assigned to the Coliseum case since Wednesday’s ruling.

“Nevertheless, it is my understanding that this is a dismissal of the original indictments for finding a technical deficiency in the language therein,” Knapp said. “If that is, in fact the case (which I am all but certain it is), we will seek to file charges again and cure the technical deficiency.”

Charges against Coliseum defendants John Butler and Paul Grazar remain pending.

A fifth defendant, Jay Laesch, pleaded guilty in November and agreed to cooperate with authorities. Laesch was the former finance director for BMI Concessions, the arena's in-house food and beverage company.

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Ryan Denham is the content director for WGLT and WCBU.
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