Peoria Riverfront Museum far behind on releasing financial records

By Joe Bennett

April 17, 2013 Updated Apr 17, 2013 at 10:14 PM CDT

PEORIA COUNTY, Ill -- Six months after the Peoria Riverfront Museum opened its doors, the county says a report on the museum's financial status is long overdue.

According to a lease agreement between the two parties, the museum should have provided a budget to the county and time is running out.

For Peoria Riverfront Museum CEO Jim Richerson, a timeline for tax reports, audit information and a current fiscal budget was lost in lack of communication.

"This is something that the museum wants to be in direct dialogue with the county with no intermediaries, and we think that's important," Richerson says.

Peoria County Administrator Scott Sorrel says communication until now had been through attorneys and third party associates.

Still, that doesn't explain why the financial records have been withheld for more than 180 days after requests were made.

""I don't know if they're doing well, I don't know if they're doing poorly,” Sorrel says. “We don't have any data that they've provided to us.”

Article 7 of the Lease and Operating Agreement clearly states the museum agrees to allow the county inspection of its financial statements.

Specifically, the county wants to see an operating budget for this fiscal year.

There is no penalty if the museum does not share its financial information by a certain time.

There is, however, a penalty if the museum does not meet certain revenue or attendance goals.

"A baby is not born walking and fully functioning,” Richerson says in defense. “There's a lot of parts to this coming together. I still have to get together with the auditor and the audit committee and see what else is left on the red line."

The county has given the museum until the end of April to release the necessary financial records.

If certain goals are not being met, the county is then allowed to right-size the museum's financial operations, according to Sorrel.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.