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BLOOMINGTON — A McLean County judge granted a stay Monday that postpones John Y. Butler's obligation to file paperwork to reclaim more than $31,000 seized by the state in connection with criminal charges against the former manager of the city-owned arena.

Butler and four others face a total of 111 charges of theft, wire fraud, money laundering and tax-related charges that accuse them of mishandling money and business operations during the 10 years Butler's Central Illinois Arena Management (CIAM) managed the former U.S. Cellular Coliseum.

Last week, lawyers for Butler filed a petition seeking an emergency hearing to challenge the seizure of more than $31,000 from Butler's bank accounts after the criminal charges were filed in September.

Following a meeting in judge's chambers with defense lawyer Scott Kording, Judge Rebecca Foley ordered that Butler will not be required to file a claim or post a $3,100 bond in the forfeiture case until a hearing is held for arguments on the defense motion.

The judge noted the emergency nature of the petition in her order. An upcoming deadline for filing a claim may expire before a formal hearing can be held, making Kording's limited arguments to the judge in private on the request for a stay permissible, according to the order.

Negotiations between lawyers for the state and defense, including talks Monday afternoon before the meeting in chambers, produced no agreement on the seized funds, said the order.

In a petition filed March 2, the defense alleged that the seizure was improper because the search warrant used to take the money was overly broad. A portion of the assets that belonged to Butler's son was returned in December after the defense challenged the confiscation.

No hearing date has been set on the forfeiture issues.

Charged along with Butler are Bart Rogers, CIAM's former general manager, Kelly W. Klein, assistant manager of finance at the time, Paul Grazer, former food and beverage director and Jay Laesch, former finance director of BMI Concessions.

Follow Edith Brady-Lunny on Twitter: @pg_blunny


McLean County Courts Reporter

McLean County courts reporter for The Pantagraph.

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