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Former Bloomington-owned arena official pleads guilty

BLOOMINGTON - One of the five former management officials of the former U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington pleaded guilty to money laundering and filing a fraudulent sales tax return.

According to The Pantagraph, 38-year-old Jay Laesch of Heyworth was fined $1 and sentenced to 30 months probation. He is required to cooperate with authorities on all other arena-related cases as part of the plea deal, and testify at the trial of co-defendants. 

Laesch and four other employees of Central Illinois Arena Management were accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars by over-billing for cleaning supplies and utilities, taking money from concessions, and disguising expenses, among other things, in September 2007. 

He was a finance director of BMI Concessions, which was the food and beverage provider for the arena.

Police arrested 58-year-old John Butler, 47-year-old Bart Rogers, 57-year-old Kelly Klein and 50-year-old Paul Grazar, along with Laesch. 

There are 111 indictments between the five former employees. All the defendants are free on bond.

The arena is now known as Grossinger Motors Arena.


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