MCC Board Officially Split 4-3 on Baseball Stadium

In the category of “If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it make a noise?” comes last Thursday night’s McHenry County College Board meeting motion to declare the baseball stadium proposal dead.

Then again, the Northwest Herald didn’t report on the devastating 3rd party analysis of the baseball promoter’s predicted revenues and expenses and I know that exists, even though McHenry County Blog is the only source that wrote a story.

Declaring the contract with the baseball promoter a nullity may not have been exactly Scott Summers’ motion, but that was its goal.

Summers pointed out that since Crystal Lake re-zoning approval for the Health, Wellness and Athletic Complex (or baseball stadium, as I have referred to its most prominent part) was one of the terms of the contract with baseball promoter Pete Heitman had failed that the contract does not exist and the board should declare it a dead. Fellow censured board member Donna Kurtz seconded the motion.

Summers argued that purchase of the 57 adjacent acres between the current college property and the train tracks should be considered on its own merits.

In any event, three MCC board members—Summers, Donna Kurtz and Frances Glosson—voted together. McHenry County Blog first noticed the position switch on November 15th.

Newly elected MCC Board President George Lowe, Barbara Walters, Carol Larson and Mary Miller outvoted them.

But, there were fireworks, expression of anger, hostility and, as one observer put it, “denial” during the discussion.

Kurtz and Glosson argued for an objective 3rd party review of Heitman’s financial projections.

Lowe suggested (maybe that is too mild a word because another source said at one point Lowe “shouted” at one of the baseball stadium dissenters) that Kurtz should have read her board packet (about the baseball stadium) the first time.

Crystal Lake CPA Miller argued that the board did a good job, looking at the buildings, as well as the numbers.

Summers pointed out that those who stand to make money on the project could not be expected to be objective.

Larson explained that she did not see any conflict, that this was a public-private partnership in which the goal was to make money.

Kurtz’ retort pointed out that it wasn’t much of a partnership, with the private investors putting up $25,000 and the college the rest of the rest of the required $25 or more million.

My sources tell me that President Walt Packard tried to interpret the appearance of the Economics Research Associates as proposing to do a more “thorough” analysis.

That is, as I have reported in a fair amount of detail, not an accurate representation of what ERA’s presentation was about.

ERA was there pitching an entirely different role, telling college board members that it could put together a partnership to get the project off and running.

ERA’s Richard Starr made a sales pitch to make the baseball stadium happen, plain and simple.

Erv LeCoque’s report of the withdrawal of a $1 million scholarship pledge was disputed by President Packard.

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None of the pictures were taken at the meeting. The article is based on notes from two observers. Scott Summers is on the upper left with Pete Heitman on the upper left. A map of the Gilger property is below Heitman’s head shot. George Lowe is below Summers and Mary Miller is under Heitman. Carol Larson is on the left below those two. Donna Kurtz is on the right. Economics Research Associates spokesman Richard Starr is beneath Larson. Walt Packard is on the bottom right.

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