BLOOMINGTON — The jury trial for a man accused of participating in stealing money from the city of Bloomington's downtown arena will not begin until 2020.
Bart Rogers, 49, who was a general manager of the former U.S. Cellular Coliseum, appeared before Associate Judge Michael Stroh on Tuesday in McLean County Circuit Court in Bloomington. There, the judge denied two previous motions filed by defense attorney Stephanie Wong to dismiss some charges because she said they lacked sufficient detail to tie Rogers to criminal activity. Three prior motions to dismiss had been granted. The state refiled and re-indicted.
"There is some evidence that would seem to connect the accused to the charges," he said.
The indictments stem from a 2017 investigation into financial misconduct at the city-owned venue, now known as Grossinger Motors Arena, when it was managed by Rogers' employer, Central Illinois Arena Management. CIAM did not renew its 10-year-old management contract, and VenuWorks took over in 2016.
A trial date has not yet been set and Wong said the denial of her previous motions may lead to new motions to limit evidence.
“There is a volume of documents related to this case,” she added.
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Assistant State’s Attorney Brad Rigdon had no objection to the delay. Both attorneys also are involved in a December murder trial, forcing a delay until after Christmas.
A status hearing in the Rogers case is set for Dec. 30.
Two other defendants in the case, Paul Grazer and Jay Laesch, have already accepted plea deals.
Grazar, former food and beverage director for the Coliseum, was sentenced to 30 months on probation for conspiracy to commit tax evasion and agreed to cooperate with investigators and testify in the case against the other co-defendants. Laesch, former finance director of BMI Concessions for CIAM, was sentenced to probation on charges of money laundering and filing a fraudulent sales tax return.
Charges against Kelly Klein, CIAM's former assistant manager of finance, were dismissed, but prosecutors previously said that they could be refiled.
CIAM President John Y. Butler is due in court Oct. 23 to argue motions filed by his defense team. A trial is scheduled to begin April 13.