Staying in Bill Cellini’s Old Hotel

When the Reconnaissance Hotel opened in Springfield, it was the pride and joy of Bill and Julie Cellini.

I remember reading she did the interior decorating. You can see her taste every time you see the flowers in the entry corridor.

And Cellini even solved what must have been one of his pet peeves—shower curtains that impede taking a shower. He invented the curved shower curtain rod (on the left).

I appreciated his imaginative solution to the clinging shower curtain problem and think of him even when I see assume is a knock-off (on the right) of his invention in other hotels, e.g., the newly-opened Key Lime Cove Water Park in Gurnee.

This past weekend three McHenry County families went down to the Old Capitol Art Fair. There’s a wonderful children’s tent where for $4, $5 or $5 they can get art that would cost sometimes substantially more at an artist’s booth.

My son got a metal turtle with a semi-precious stone, among other pieces of artwork.

As followers of the political scene know, Democratic Party State Treasurer Alexi Gianoulias decided to do what his Republican predecessors didn’t.

He decided to foreclose on the hotel that Cellini got financed though a bi-partisan loan deal between Republican Governor Jim Thompson and Jerry Cosentino, a Democrat. Dan Walker Democrat Gary Fears got financing for a motel in Collinsville out of the bipartisan deal.

Marathon Pundit has a lot of the background on the Springfield hotel deal.

The Chicago Tribune article put the results of a $50,000 forensic audit by Blackman Kallick Bartelstein turned over to federal authorities as its lead story Monday.

The auditor’s findings, according to Gianoulias, indicate that “Cellini orchestrated a sophisticated scheme to cook the books and cheat the state.”

$2 million of diversions is the figure used at the top of the Tribune article.

Cellini’s spokesman denies the charges. “…all of the deductions are allowed under the terms of the loan,” attorney Kathleen Vyborny said.

To make people think hanky panky has taken place, the treasurer said the management company it had hired to run the hotel since taking control a year ago March had “turned a $1.2 million profit,” according to the Sun-Times article on the subject.

Cellini, of course, has his Crystal Lake connection. Let by Aaron Shepley, Cellini’s group was awarded the Vulcan Lakes-Route 14 Tax Increment Financing district contract just a couple of days before Cellini was identified as a co-conspirator, according to several newspaper, in the Tony Resko indictment. If you have not seen Cellini in action, here is a short YouTube interchange between Shepley and Cellini.

A longer version, just so you can see the snippet above is not taken out of context, follows:

Mayor Shepley and his city council decided to raise the city sales tax 75% to accomplish the preparation of Vulcan Lakes for recreational use, the same reason used for giving the TIF development contract to Cellini’s consortium.

All photos may be enlarged by clicking on them.

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