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July 21, 2024

COD- Waterleaf loses over half-million per year –

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On February 24, 2015

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

Oh how the dots keep connecting!

Can anyone explain why the taxpayers of District 502 should be paying for Breuders dinners at the private restaurant, Barrington Country Bistro, which is owned by the very manager of the Waterleaf?  I mean seriously, it’s bad enough we are paying for them at the Waterleaf but now it appears the tax payers are subsidizing a private restaurant owned by the manager of the Waterleaf.  Is this a form of pay-to-play?

A dinner that racked up a $8,445.94 bill in August of 2010!  This receipt has now been uncovered and was was concealed from my FOIA for all expense reimbursements to Robert Breuder from date of hire to 2012.  A receipt that reflects $2,500.00 in liquor purchases. (Click here for copy of receipt)

“Waterleaf is the brainchild of COD President Dr. Robert L. Breuder and Jean-Pierre Leroux, the longtime owner-operator of the celebrated Barrington Country Bistro in Barrington.” (Click here for the article) (Click here for corporate record of BCB)

Barrington Country Bistro FaceBook post November 2014“we have decided not to renew our lease and will cease operations at the close of business on Saturday evening December 20th”.

The Waterleaf team includes Executive Chef Nadia Tilkian, former owner of Maijean, Inc restaurant (now dissolved) in Clarendon Hills who’s professional experience includes stints at Barrington Country Bistro.

So in short, the Waterleaf is the brain child of Breuder and Leroux who happens to include the owner/chef of a dissolved restaurant who was also a chef at Barrington Country Bistro, owned by Leroux, who is also the manager of the Waterleaf.  Got all that?

Is a business pattern starting to emerge?

  • Maijean, Inc – Dissolved
  • Barrington Country Bistro – Closed

Waterleaf       FY2014                    FY2013                     FY2012*
Revenues          $ 798,761                $660,539                 $536,661

Expenses         $1,335,608              $1,218,383               $1,112,664

Net Profit/(Loss) $
                   ($536,847)           ($557,844)           ($576,003)

Quote from Leroux from Kerman Communications article : “I am proud it has become not only a favored dining spot for food lovers in our area, but also an example of how excellent a restaurant can be when given proper attention and a focus on detail throughout.”   (Click here for the article)

Given proper attention?  More like given a LOT of taxpayer subsidized money!  I was shocked to see the spin COD officials put together for the financial presentation during the last meeting.  Three years running and they actually bragged about progress being made even though they are three years running at over $500,000 loss!

Am I the only one seeing a problem here?  Is not the track record of those involved an indicator that they should not be running a business?

Now don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt the Chef is absolutely one of the finest chefs in the area but we all know being a Chef is not the same as running the business.

If the numbers and track record of the management of the Waterleaf is any indicator of what is to come I suspect most would agree, taxpayers are in for a huge hit!


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  • Joseph
    Posted at 22:46h, 26 February Reply

    Why do we pay for 2,500 drink bills? Because it’s part of the courting process for grooming an investor to put money into your institution. You guys should really add the donation checks that result from these grip and grin sessions to the Waterleaf expenses, then tell me if their in the red. Honestly you people are like a dog with a bone just blasting anything to the public without non biased research. Stop it, just stop it.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 07:34h, 27 February Reply

      Joseph: The point we are trying to make is that you CANNOT use public funds, property, or credit in the way it is being used. Should contractors get the job because they fill the pockets of a foundation? NO!
      Btw, we have asked for copies of all donations, and any proof of donations received due to dinners like these.
      Still haven’t received anything…

  • Robert Sloat (Observing from Lake County)
    Posted at 08:30h, 01 March Reply

    $1.5 million in losses over 3 years at a COD owned campus restaurant says something needs to be done. Add to this the capital investment to build and equip the restaurant and the conclusion is that it was a mistake. A Board review and decision needs to be made. It will be entertaining to see how folks defend the enterprise at this stage.

    Now let’s look at the hotel. Does it make money?

    We can’t forget rationalization from some of the Board that there is economic value contributed to COD by the folks who patron these facilities. As part of their visit to the restaurant or the hotel, did they buy enough stuff at the book store to generate at least $ 1.5 million in profits to make up for the restaurant losses? That’s a lot of COD sweatshirts. At $5/sweat shirt profit that’s half a million sweat shirts or enough to full clothe over 1/2 of DuPage County’s residents. Let’s see the studies the Board has made on this.

    The restaurant, not the Homeland Security building, should be named after the President. It is also a step child of the President, sadly more likely to converted to other use and one of those projects demanded by a person who publicly stated if allowed to join the military, four star general rank should be bestowed on him from the get go. Working your way up to that rank takes talent and time lacking in the current impatient one. At least the Board at Harper College had the smarts to reject its then president Brueder’s plan for at restaurant at the college. It is $1.5 million richer for a wise decision.

    The president has done some good things for COD, but the vanity stuff is a sign of poor leadership and judgement and deserved to be checked by a strong Board. That is a serious Problem for both.

  • Ken Roush
    Posted at 13:48h, 02 March Reply

    I wonder if Waterleaf goes when Brueder goes?

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