The Better Government Association lost its lawsuit over whether the Illinois High School Association is subject to open records laws, but it's still battling in court over arenas. The arenas, stadiums or convention halls in Springfield, Bloomington, Peoria, Moline, Bridgeview, Hoffman Estates, Marion and Rosemont are owned by their respective cities or by a public authority. Better Government Association lawyer Matt Topic says their records ought to be open to public inspection.
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"Both FOIA and the Illinois Constitution guarantee the public access to records related to the receipt, use and obligation of public funds. This makes perfect sense. These are public dollars, public facilities. The public is entitled to know how they're being operated," he said. The arena owners say they have to be able to keep some secrets, or they'll be placed at a disadvantage when it comes to booking entertainment acts if their competitors know what inducements or concessions were given in the contract. The BGA is suing the City of Rosemont specifically over records related to the Garth Brooks concert at the Allstate Arena last year. The organization had sued the IHSA over access to records, arguing that it's a largely public entity that oversees sports for mostly public schools, but in April a court ruled that the IHSA is private and not subject to open records laws.