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April 22, 2024

COD – Any validity to the MAC numbers presented?

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On March 18, 2015

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

During the February meeting COD ran though a power point presentation that showed some staggering numbers.  Numbers so staggering I couldn’t just accept what they claimed.   As it relates to the Waterleaf, they refused to give me the information used to prepare their numbers.  I covered that in this article.

The auxiliary operations have lost $9,879,804.00 in the past 7 years according to their presentation numbers! 

They claimed that the conservative numbers of 80,000 people attending McAnich Arts Center (MAC) would generate $1,968,000.00 in ancillary revenue each year for DuPage County businesses.  (See Page 10 of the presentation)

That number was a conclusion they made based on a 5 year old study from the Americans for the Arts web site citing $24.60 in ancillary spending.  Sadly, once again, things are not adding up! When using the very numbers they outlined in the presentation there is a $1,833,256.00 discrepancy in their representation compared to using the very calculators they pointed me to!

For starters, read the information on the America for the Arts web page on this to get a foundation of their evaluations. (Economic Impact Link for Americans for the Arts)

 “Using findings from 182 regions representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, an input-output economic model is able to deliver national estimates.”
What did COD use to come up with their numbers?

I asked for the following:

  1. Copy of all communications with Americans for the Arts to include contracts, agreements, proposals, e-mails letters etc. since 2009.
  2. Copy of all COD expenditures with the Americans for the Arts since 2009.
  3. Copy of any economic impact study and/or cost benefit analysis provided to COD from Americans for the Arts since 2009.

I appreciate the input they provided in the FOIA response because it pointed me to some very interesting information that needs to be shared. (Click here for FOIA Response letter)

“The American for the Arts is a free website resource for Arts Organizations that offers calculators, downloads, and powerpoints to demonstrate the economic and social impact of the arts by geographic location or metropolitan area. The information is free to anyone to assist in preparing for Arts presentations.”

Using COD expense numbers from the presentation of $1,023,000.00 and attendance estimates of 80,000 the American Arts Calculator puts the local economic impact at $134,744.00.  (Link here for the Calculator and plug the numbers yourself!) 

I would say that is far less than what was presented.

$1,833,256.00 less to be exact!

So where did their numbers come from?  We know it was not the calculator they pointed me to because you would have to have an expense of $46,121,550.00 with 80,000 attendees as COD cited, in order to get a number of  $1,968,000.00 of impact to local government.

It was not the Chicago study they provided because that reflects less than the $24.60 they cited in the presentation. The Chicago study showed $24.36 per person and I have a hard time believing COD is going to have numbers higher than Chicago, a city with far more Arts related programs and people than COD! (Chicago study provided by COD that was done by Americans for the Arts)

Considering they did not provide any cost benefit analysis we are left to assume their so called conservative estimate of $1,968,000.00 of local economic impact to DuPage county is solely based on the assumption that the 2010 study of $24.60 per person, cited by the AA, applies to DuPage County. (FULL 378 page study details)

And if that is the case, why did they use $24.60 and not the local audience number of $17.42?  Are we to believe the MAC is drawing significant numbers from outside the county?  Numbers in which lodging becomes part of the equation?  Lodging is where $3.51 of the $24.60 comes from.  Take that figure away and now we are down to $21.09 which brings their economic impact study down $280,800.00!

What I found most interesting were some of the tables in the full report.  Chicago was the closest I could find for DuPage County.  Page 115 outlines the local revenue generated based on $100,000.00 of expenditures, which in this study shows Chicago would generate $4,580.00 of total local revenue, which is a 4.58% return.

Using that percentage comparison for the COD expenditures of $1,023,000.00 we see the total local revenue would be an estimated $46,853.40, which is approximate one third what the calculator numbers provided.

The highest return was the Greater Washington DC area (page 117), which reflected a 10.074% return.  Even using that percentage number for COD it would put them at just over $100,000 in return, or $1,864,942.98 less than they claimed as their original estimate.

I would encourage close review of any numbers coming out of COD as those who have ever worked with numbers know, you can present them in many fashions to impress your audience when their is no time to validate them.  Take some time and validate the information your are being fed!


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1 Comment
  • Chris M. Gaines
    Posted at 12:40h, 18 March

    Thank you John and Kirk for investing your personal money in travel expenses,and many other expenses related to your work here, and also the many many hours of personal time researching all this I assume, with no compensation for you, and all for us who reap the benefits of it in valuable information we can ALL now can verify easily based on the evidence you provide online publicly on your website, for ALL us, We the People.

    ” Implementation is the only TRUTH ” Quote from Chris Tolles Co-Founder and CEO of Topix/Politx forums online. I agree in this case. Implementation is vital here.

    Thank you for paying close attention to these fraudulent numbers the COD Board continues to present to the public as factual, but in reality is fantasy, obviously. You should be commended for that publicly at the very least. Thank you John and Kirk! You continue to inspire me to be more like you on a daily basis, in my eyes…you are some of the hardest working citizen journalists in our State of Illinois, and in my opinion, citizen journalists like you are the Minute Men (and women) of our generation.

    Keep pushing back even HARDER now, please. My intention is to motivate you and others reading this even more with my comments. Finish the work you and many other people started in exposing this FRAUD publicly, and hopefully I pray this criminal(s) will be prosecuted, or fired (and COD Board members responsible for allowing it to happen on their watch NOT be elected EVER again to any public office anywhere) at the very least. I predict sadly, he (they) will just move to another community out of OUR State of Illinois and continue doing the exact same thing, under a new board who protects him like this one obviously has.Our law enforcement agencies, our justice system and our politicians have failed us obviously, ALL OF US, We the People so far, they all should NOW take advantage of this situation and make an example of these people(criminals) to redeem themselves in the eyes of the public who obviously has lost PUBLIC TRUST in OUR government in general…nationwide.

    May God have mercy on all our souls for allowing this to happen on our watch as responsible active citizens of OUR Republic in America. God will judge all these people who are responsible for this in the end, not man. Have a nice day.

    When will they be held accountable for their actions and lies to the public is the remaining question… Will they ever be held accountable for this FRAUD, and criminal activity, why not? WHY NOT!?