• Last modified 937 days ago (Feb. 28, 2018)


Corporation rejects renting from treasurer

Staff writer

A potentially glaring conflict of interest proposed by economic development corporation treasurer Mike Beneke was avoided Tuesday when the group chose Emprise Bank for its offices.

Beneke, who recently purchased the former Straub building in Marion, stood to profit from an offer to house the offices in his building for $1,000 a month.

Beneke said the building is zoned commercial and he could rent it for commercial endeavors without having to go through the city planning and zoning process.

“I would entertain up to a two-year lease,” Beneke said.

Anthony Roy, interim director of the corporation, said he’d talked to attorney Josh Boehm, who highly recommended against renting the building from Beneke.

“I would strongly suggest this group look to other options,” Roy said.

Beneke asked if Roy would like him to resign from the board.

Roy said he sees other problems with the building as well.

Board member Jared Jost said Emprise Bank has made an appealing offer on space in the basement of their building.

“They recognize our efforts and they would like to donate the space for a year,” Jost said.

The bank would install a safety and security system to allow the corporation its own entry to the basement, and would want the corporation to pay $3,500 to $4,000 toward the costs, Jost said. After the first year, rent would be $297 per month.

The corporation would also have to carry liability insurance, which Jost said State Farm estimated at $500 to $600 per year.

“We’re getting a very nice offer for a temporary space,” Roy said.

“At this point, if everybody wants to go with the Emprise building, I say let’s do it,” Beneke said.

Board members voted unanimously to rent space from Emprise Bank.

Board members also set priorities on things they need to accomplish.

Top priorities are to hire a director or administrative assistant, develop clarity with stakeholders, develop a business plan, and handle communication with stakeholders.

Board chairman Amy Doane said stakeholders are getting different messages from different board members, and suggested people with questions should submit their questions in writing so the board can give an official answer.

Secondary priorities are external communications, deciding what needed expertise to add to the board, and adding at-large board members.

Last modified Feb. 28, 2018