You may remember I was not at the October 10, 2006, Crystal Lake city council meeting when Mayor Aaron Shepley and his city council colleagues picked Bill Cellini’s consortium to take on the over $100 million Vulcan Lakes Tax Increment Financing project in October 2006. (The project could be worth only $30 million, if you believe the council only planned to borrow that amount, as this story indicates.)
I would have recognized Cellini, because I worked for him in the 1971 Springfield mayor campaign of Denny Kelley. Kelley lost by about 2-1 to Sangamon County Coroner William Telford.
Mayor Shepley’s and the city council’s selection of Cellini was made just days before Cellini was implicated in the Tony Rezko corruption case.
There must have been some very worried city hall folks when they saw the news stories the end of the second week of October in 2006.
By October 31st, Cellini had announced his withdrawal from the Vulcan Lakes TIF project.
The consortium is of continuing interest to columnist John Kass.
So, since the only YouTube display of Cellini’s persuasive abilities was posted by McHenry County Blog from the video recording of his city council exchange with Mayor Shepley right before being awarded the huge contract, I thought you might like another chance to watch it.
Actually, there are two versions.
A short one, which is below.
And one that puts the short one into context, which follows.
Astoundingly, this interchange about the possibility of condemning the old Cub Foods-Walmart Shopping Center, into which J.C. Penney’s has announced it will move, was after the condemnation suits against Vulcan had already begun.
The Cellini TIF meeting was held in October, 2006, but Crystal Lake’s suits were filed in August, 2006.
In the story about Cellini’s role in the TIF project, Shepley told Northwest Herald reporter Karen Long,
“Our mission, our goal was to make sure that no matter who we ended up picking in this whole affair, we want to make sure the process with respect to Mr. Cellini was absolutely transparent.”
So, how did Cellini learn of the Crystal Lake TIF project?
How did his consortium manage to win approval of Mayor Shepley and the city council?
Keely Cat’s whiskers positively twitch in curiosity wondering what the answers to those questions are, plus why Mayor Shepley decided to raise the Crystal Lake city sales tax by 75%, using developing Vulcan Lakes as one of the excuses.
So what brings me to write this story?
Political power broker avoided
trouble for more than 30 years
And, at the bottom,
clearly show is that
Levine didn’t need to
The column points out,
“Cellini is still only an unindicted co-conspirator though the reason he remains unindicted is even more of a mystery after listening to the tapes.”
Here’s where you can read what Cellini and Levine said in their May 7, 2004, phone conversation.
And, here’s the May 8, 2004, follow-up phone call.
Nothing about Crystal Lake, of course.
And, of course, neither Cellini nor Shepley have been charged with any crime.