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Former city arena managers charged

John Y. Butler, owner of Central Illinois Arena Management, appears in court in September 2017 on theft, fraud and other charges at the McLean County Law and Justice Center, Bloomington.

BLOOMINGTON — A judge set a May 31 deadline for the state to provide copies of documents seized by Illinois State Police to John Y. Butler, who is accused of mishandling money during the decade he managed the city-owned arena.

On Tuesday, McLean County Judge William Yoder set the deadline nearly a year after state police refused to allow Butler to review volumes of business documents being stored in a state police facility in Pontiac.

In May 2018, lawyers for Butler complained the state had barred Butler from accompanying his lawyers to Pontiac to review the contents of more than 70 boxes of Butler's business records. The defense team wanted to review the documents to determine what materials may be needed for their case.

State police agreed to scan the documents and provide the copies to Butler's attorneys.

Contents of 16 boxes were scanned by state police and provided to Butler's attorneys, but 33 more boxes of documents along with other seized accounting records have not, Butler's attorney Steven Beckett told Yoder.

In order to provide Butler a proper defense "we still need to know what's in those boxes," said Beckett.

Twenty-seven boxes of documents were returned on Friday to Butler after Illinois State Police Agent Daniel Rossiter acknowledged in October they contained material outside the scope of a search warrant issued Dec. 22, 2016.

Butler has filed a challenge to that search warrant for three years of financial records for Central Illinois Arena Management, the management firm Butler owns, and BMI Concessions, which was the food and beverage vendor for the venue.

Arguments on that matter were delayed in March because Rossiter is on medical leave until July 1. A June 18 hearing will be held if Rossiter is able to return to light duty by then, said Yoder.

Yoder said Tuesday he has not made a ruling on a motion requested by VenuWorks to quash Butler's motion seeking computerized financial records maintained by VenuWorks. Yoder said he will do so soon.

In challenging the subpoena, Dawn Wall, VenuWorks' lawyer, argued in March that those records were irrelevant because VenuWorks never had any relationship with Butler. VenuWorks was hired in April 2016 to manage the venue, now called Grossinger Motors Arena, after CIAM's contract with the city ended. 

Contact Maria Nagle at (309) 820-3244. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle

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Bloomington Reporter

Bloomington reporter for The Pantagraph.

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