Joliet’s councilman, who serves as the city’s liaison to the Rialto Square theater, also has an insurance business on the theater.
Council Member Pat Mudron’s firm, Mudron Kane Insurance, sold a Cincinnati insurance policy with a $247,000 premium to Rialto in April.
Mudron’s firm was awarded the business without a public request for proposals, although the Rialto’s board chairman said there was a “competitive process” between Mudron Kane and the broker who previously handled the theater’s insurance.
“They both went out and talked to a number of insurance companies,” said Rialto Board Chairman Robert Filotto.
Filotto said Rialto is expecting a $446,000 premium on a competing policy without being fully covered and at one point facing the prospect of having no insurance at all. Rialto was paying a $75,000 premium for commercial property, general liability, umbrella insurance and other coverages, Filotto said. He said the policy obtained through Mudron Kane provided the same coverage as Rialto previously.
“When we started hearing earlier this year that our coverage was probably not going to be renewed or it was going to be renewed with a significant premium increase, I reached out to Pat and said, ‘Pat, can you help us?'” Filotto said.
Mudron has been the council’s liaison to Rialto since he was first elected to the council in 2015.
He attends Rialto board meetings but does not vote. He advises the board, and minutes of past meetings show Mudron joined discussions about the insurance issue in January, when Filotto notified the board that his policy might not be renewed because the theater did not have a sprinkler system.
Although Mudron does not vote on the Rialto board, he does vote on the city budget, which includes an annual contribution to the theater that has fluctuated between $375,000 and $475,000 in recent years. The city voted on the budget in December, and Mudron said there hasn’t been a vote involving the Rialto since April.
Mudron also provides the council with information on Rialto matters and serves as a liaison with the city on matters affecting both entities.
“I didn’t look for this business. They pushed me,” Mudron said when asked about the policy. “I feel like I have no conflict.”
But Mudron said he turned the Rialto business over to his son Shamus to handle. Mudron and his son are two of the owners of Mudron Kane Insurance.
“I felt like I shouldn’t be so into it,” he said.
Mudron admitted that even if he was not personally involved in the Rialto business, he shared in the financial benefit as another owner in Mudron Kane.
He will have to recuse himself from the City Council vote related to the Rialto and disclose why, Mudron said.
Although the insurance issue began to escalate in January, the Rialto knew before the COVID-19 pandemic that it could eventually lose coverage because the theater does not have a sprinkler system, Filotto said.
“Covid hit and we shut down for 18 months and it became kind of seamless,” Filotto said.
There’s a chance Rialto could change policies again before the current coverage is renewed, Filotto said.
The theater is seeking professional services for improvements planned at the Rialto through a public request-for-qualifications process, and one of the firms that responded indicated it could help with insurance.
“We can rescind the (Cincinnati) policy and get another policy,” he said. “I have no idea if this is going to work.”