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Second Coliseum Defendant Pleads Guilty, Gets Probation

Paul Grazar in court
David Proeber
/
The Pantagraph (Pool)
Paul Grazar was the former general manager at the city-owned arena’s in-house food and beverage company, BMI Concessions, a central part of the alleged scheme.";

A second defendant in the Coliseum fraud case has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to probation in exchange for cooperating with authorities as they prosecute the accused mastermind.

Paul Grazar, 52, of Normal was sentenced to 30 months’ probation last week after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit tax evasion. Other counts of theft and income tax fraud were dropped.

Grazar’s plea requires him to assist authorities in other ongoing Coliseum cases.

Grazar was one of five former Coliseum managers indicted in 2017 for his role in a multiyear fraud scheme that prosecutors say stole thousands of dollars from the City of Bloomington. Grazar was the former general manager at the city-owned arena’s in-house food and beverage company, BMI Concessions, a central part of the alleged scheme.

Grazar is the second defendant to plead out. Jay Laesch of Heyworth, the former finance director for BMI Concessions, pleaded guilty in November and agreed to cooperate with authorities. He received 30 months’ probation. 

Charges remain pending against alleged mastermind John Butler, who owned both Central Illinois Arena Management (CIAM), and the arena’s former GM Bart Rogers. They've pleaded not guilty. Butler is due back in court Aug. 28. Butler has a hearing Oct. 2.

Charges were dismissed against a fifth defendant, Kelly Klein.

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Ryan Denham is the content director for WGLT and WCBU.
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