BLOOMINGTON — One of five defendants charged with crimes connected to management of the city-owned arena asked a judge Wednesday to dismiss theft charges against him.
Bart Rogers is charged with 13 counts of theft of government funds during the time he worked as general manager of Central Illinois Arena Management (CIAM), the firm that supervised operations of the former U.S. Cellular Coliseum.
Defense lawyer Stephanie Wong argued that two of the counts related to alleged illegal activity that fell outside the three-year window of the state statute of limitations for theft.
Several other charges against Rogers lack sufficient details to tie Rogers to the alleged theft, said Wong.
For example, charges that outline certain payments made by the city do not relate to what Rogers is accused of doing, according to Wong. And a statement in charges that money was deposited into the bank account of CIAM owner and co-defendant John Y. Butler contains no direct allegation that Rogers made the transaction, said Wong.
Assistant State’s Attorney Brad Rigdon argued the charges “are incredibly detailed” and contain sufficient information to explain the ongoing nature of the alleged theft.
Judgements on whether Rogers’ conduct was illegal will come later in court proceedings, said Rigdon.
Associate Judge Michael Stroh will issue a written opinion on a portion of the defense motion. An April 23 hearing is set for more arguments on other portions of Rogers’ motion to dismiss theft counts.
Also charged in September were Kelly W. Klein, former CIAM assistant general manager of finance, accused of theft and money laundering; Paul Grazar, former food and beverage director for CIAM, charged with theft, money laundering, and tax-related charges; and Jay C. Laesch, ex-finance director of BMI Concessions, and Butler, both of whom are charged with theft, wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit tax evasion.
All the defendants are free on bond.