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updated: 1/21/2011 4:41 PM

$50,000 spent on rec center 'no' vote

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A committee that opposed the building of a recreation center in downtown Batavia spent more than $50,000 on its campaign last fall.

The semiannual D2 campaign contributions report filed by Batavians Against Debt indicates the committee received $50,539.47 in itemized contributions. The report was filed with the state board of elections Jan. 19.

The contributions all came from Black Heron LLC of Peoria. There were no loans, transfers in or in-kind contributions. There were $34 in non-itemized contributions.

Black Heron gave $9,233 on Oct. 7, $8,156 on Oct. 13, $9,000 on Oct. 21, $6,755 on Oct. 28 and $17,394 on Dec. 8.

Black Heron has the same address as Peoria lawyer and developer Jack Teplitz, who is also listed as the chairman of Batavians Against Debt. Teplitz did not respond to numerous requests for comment throughout the campaign as to why he and Black Heron were interested in a project in Batavia. Teplitz is an expert on tax-increment financing district law, and the project was to be located in a TIF district.

The referendum on whether to allow the Batavia Park District to borrow $20 million for the center was Nov. 2.

On the expense part of the report, the committee listed $50,573.47 in spending.

It spent $12,000 on consulting from Burnham Strategies Group LLC of Geneva; $4,000 in "various political services" on Patrick Carlson of Montgomery; $24,833.36 for mailings by Goodman Political LLC of Buffalo Grove; $7,934.16 for legal fees with the firm of Bochte, Kuzniar and Navigator PC of St. Charles; and $2,216.95 with Victory Enterprises of Iowa for signs.

That works out to $2.86 per registered voter in the district.

Burnham Strategies is owned by Brad Hahn and David From. Hahn was the press secretary for former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, and From managed a Hastert campaign. Former Hastert local district director David Richmond, who lives in the Batavia Park District, was an opponent of the rec center.

The law firm's website says it specializes in family, real estate, criminal defense, employment and business law.

Building a Better Batavia, a not-for-profit group that advocated for the rec center, has not filed its D-2 semiannual report as of midafternoon Friday. The report was due Jan. 20.