Bob Schillerstrom Skips DuPage Airport Authority Meeting, Declines Chance to Explain Secret Plan for DuPage 'Technology' Park

Jun 10, 2010, 06:00 ET from Daniel L. Goodwin for DuPage Airport Authority

WEST CHICAGO, Ill., June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is on behalf of the DuPage Airport Authority:

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100610/CG18938)

(Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100610/CG18938)

DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom skipped a public discussion about his plan to transfer control of a publicly owned business park to a non-governmental entity not accountable to taxpayers and virtually shielded from public scrutiny, the DuPage Airport Authority ("DAA") announced Thursday.

Though a chair designated for Schillerstrom sat empty before the DAA Board on Wednesday, the Board proceeded in earnest with a public discussion about Schillerstrom's plan to concentrate control of the expansive site known as the DuPage National Technology Park in the hands of a board dominated by his appointees.

DAA Board members wondered whether Schillerstrom's plan to shift control to the Tech Park Board would be responsible, given the fact that no feasibility study has occurred to measure the prospects of his plan and because several elements of his plan may actually invalidate Federal Aviation Administration funding for the Airport.

"We were disappointed that Chairman Schillerstrom decided not to accept our invitation to publicly discuss his plan," said Dan Goodwin, Chairman of the DAA. "We are eager to move forward and develop this real estate in a way that grows jobs and boosts the local economy. We had looked forward to hearing Schillerstrom explain his view on how his plan would serve the taxpayers well."

Nearly five years after its launch in September 2005, the 800-acre Tech Park includes just one business occupant. Only two buildings exist on the site – one is occupied and the other is empty – and the balance of the site is empty.

In the last three years, the Tech Park Board has not signed a single lease or built a single building.

The Tech Park Board, controlled by Schillerstrom appointees, manages the business activities, such as marketing and contracts, for the Tech Park. However, the DAA owns the land occupied by the Tech Park, and the DAA is responsible for the Tech Park Board's funding.

Over the last three months, Schillerstrom presented the DAA with a series of demands concerning control of the site. Schillerstrom, through an attorney for the Tech Park Board, put his demands in a draft Memorandum of Understanding presented to the DAA.

His demands are as follows:

  • Schillerstrom wants the DAA to provide at least $500,000 a year to the Tech Park Board to subsidize its operations for a period of 20 years – a total cost for taxpayers in excess of $10 million.
  • Schillerstrom wants the DAA to transfer full control over the land to the Tech Park Board, a non-governmental entity exempt from both the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act, and not subject to municipal auditing standards.
  • Schillerstrom wants the DAA to allow the Tech Park Board to sell or lease land for less than half of what taxpayers paid to acquire the land.
  • Schillerstrom wants the DAA to give the Tech Park 40 percent of any proceeds derived from the sale or lease of airport land.

Schillerstrom's demands could potentially compromise Federal Aviation Administration funding for the airport – including past funding – due to the FAA's prohibition against Revenue Diversion.

SOURCE Daniel L. Goodwin for DuPage Airport Authority