BLOOMINGTON — Charges against the former assistant manager of finance at the city-owned downtown arena were dismissed Wednesday in McLean County Circuit Court.
Kelly W. Klein, of Bloomington, appeared with her lawyer, Joel E. Brown, who had filed a motion to have all 12 charges dismissed. Klein was one of five officials charged with mishandling finances during a 10-year span that Central Illinois Arena Management (CIAM) supervised operations at what was then known as U.S. Cellular Coliseum. The charges included money laundering and theft.
Klein was not available for comment, but Brown said his client deserved to have the charges dismissed by Judge Michael Stroh. Stroh dismissed the charges without comment.
“I have thoroughly investigated these charges and there was no criminality on the part of Kelly Klein,” Brown said. “The merits of the case do not warrant these charges being filed.”
In court, Assistant State’s Attorney David Rossi said the charges could be refiled, but he declined to discuss the matter further following the 10-minute hearing.
State’s Attorney Don Knapp was in another court hearing Wednesday, but said he was aware the charges were dismissed.
“We are going to review this case and act appropriately,” he said.
Charges have been dismissed and then later refiled against two other defendants in the case.
In court, both Rossi and Brown discussed how bond would be determined for Klein if charges are refiled. Brown argued that Klein posted 10 percent of a $20,000 bond after her arrest in September 2017 and it would be unfair to ask her to post bond again for what would amount to similar charges.
Previously, Brown argued the dates of the alleged misconduct go beyond the three-year statue of limitations for filing charges in Illinois.
Rossi had argued against the motion to dismiss, saying the final dates of the alleged misconduct fell within the statute of limitations.
In all, there were 111 indictments filed against the five defendants, including 21 against former CIAM general manager Bart Rogers, who also appeared in court Wednesday. Rogers was with his attorney, Steve Skelton, who was filling in for Stephanie Wong. The court is expected to set a hearing in June for a status update in Rogers' case and to hear a defense motion to dismiss those charges.
Charges are still pending against CIAM owner John Y. Butler and former food and beverage director Paul Grazar. Jay C. Laesch, the ex-finance director of BMI Concessions, was placed on probation in April after pleading guilty to money laundering and filing a fraudulent sales tax return.