John Butler | WGLT

John Butler

Bart and Stephanie
David Proeber / The Pantagraph (Pool)

The jury trial was delayed Tuesday for the former general manager of the city-owned arena accused along with four others in what was billed as a massive fraud scheme.

Arena exterior
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The Coliseum fraud case is nearing an end.

Lead defendant John Butler pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count on Tuesday that will require him to pay the City of Bloomington and State of Illinois around $450,000 in restitution. Butler’s concessions company, BMI, also pleaded guilty to one felony count of theft.

John and Steve
Lewis Marien / The Pantagraph (Pool)

Nearly three years after being indicted, the lead defendant in the Coliseum fraud case agreed Tuesday to pay more than $430,000 in restitution to the City of Bloomington after pleading guilty to a single misdemeanor theft charge.

John Butler in court
David Proeber / The Pantagraph (Pool)

After three years, the end is in sight for the lead defendant in the Coliseum fraud case.

John Butler in court
David Proeber / The Pantagraph (Pool)

The lead defendant in the Coliseum fraud case will not be going on trial this week after all.

John Butler in court
David Proeber / The Pantagraph (Pool)

Nearly three years after criminal charges were filed, the lead defendant in the Coliseum fraud case will face a jury of his peers starting Monday.

John Butler in court
David Proeber / The Pantagraph (Pool)

For the past 16 months, lawyers for lead Coliseum defendant John Butler have stayed relatively quiet in the media as his criminal case inched its way through the justice system.

ohn Butler, Jay Laesch, Kelly Klein, Bart Rogers, and Paul Grazar in court
David Proeber / The Pantagraph (Pool)

It’s been a year since five former U.S. Cellular Coliseum officials were charged with 111 criminal counts—accused of a running a brazen multiyear fraud scheme that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Bloomington taxpayers.

John Butler in court
David Proeber / The Pantagraph (Pool)

The lead defendant in the Coliseum fraud case lost two of three rounds in a McLean County courtroom Friday, as a judge rejected attempts to kill the case before trial.

John Butler in court
David Proeber / The Pantagraph (Pool)

The former manager of the U.S. Cellular Coliseum says Illinois State Police won't let him help review more than 70 boxes of business records they seized during their fraud investigation.

John Butler in court
David Proeber / The Pantagraph (Pool)

A new court filing accuses the former Coliseum manager of using a secret internal document to run a multiyear fraud scheme and tricking the City of Bloomington into one last cash grab in the final weeks of his contract.

Bart and Stephanie
David Proeber / The Pantagraph (Pool)

New court filings in the Coliseum cases show that prosecutors are not done searching for evidence—and that a former city official has been roped back in.

John Butler in court
David Proeber / The Pantagraph (Pool)

An attorney for the lead defendant in the Coliseum fraud case claims that prosecutors are trying to “criminalize” a contract dispute between the City of Bloomington and its former arena managers, arguing the charges should be dismissed.

Arena exterior
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The lead defendant in the Coliseum fraud case claims police investigators engaged in “prosecutor-shopping” before his indictment, suggesting the case was so weak federal prosecutors wouldn’t take it.

John Butler in court
David Proeber / The Pantagraph (Pool)

The former managers of Bloomington’s downtown arena are not owed any unpaid commission money because those sponsorship deals violated their management agreement with the city, according to a new court filing.

John Butler in court
David Proeber / The Pantagraph (Pool)

The former manager of the U.S. Cellular Coliseum who’s accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Bloomington taxpayers has filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming that he’s owed $67,175 in unpaid commissions.

Staff / WGLT

Newly released audits for the former U.S. Cellular Coliseum show the city was warned eight years ago that its finance department wasn’t providing adequate oversight over the arena’s records, due in part to staffing shortages.

ohn Butler, Jay Laesch, Kelly Klein, Bart Rogers, and Paul Grazar in court
David Proeber / The Pantagraph (Pool)

The alleged fraud scheme at the former U.S. Cellular Coliseum took advantage of a known blind spot in the City of Bloomington’s oversight of arena finances, exploiting a decade-long contract that many city leaders disliked from the very beginning, GLT has learned.

John Butler in court
David Proeber / The Pantagraph (Pool)

The full scope of the investigation into alleged mismanagement at U.S. Cellular Coliseum became clearer Friday as prosecutors disclosed a long list of potential witnesses and police interviews already conducted with past and present City of Bloomington officials.

John Butler in court
David Proeber / The Pantagraph (Pool)

The five defendants in the U.S. Cellular Coliseum case pleaded not guilty Friday to more than 100 counts of fraud, theft, and money laundering.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

It’s typically in bad taste to blame the victim, but the investigation into mismanagement at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum begs the question: Why didn’t the city realize what was going on?