Nearly one year after Scott Williams was fired as city manager in Collinsville, he filed a lawsuit against the city and three of its elected officials for allegedly violating the Illinois Whistleblower Act.
Williams filed a civil suit Monday in St. Clair County Circuit Court, which named the city as well as Mayor John Miller, Councilwoman Cheryl Brombolich and Councilman Jeff Stehman as defendants. He is being represented by St. Louis attorneys Falon M. Wrigley and Stephen A. Wigginton.
The city’s legal counsel, Steve Giacoletto, declined to comment on the suit Wednesday. Brombolich, Stehman and Miller did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the suit, Williams claimed a violation of the state’s Whistleblower Act when he said officials retaliated against him after he disclosed certain acts of wrongdoing to the state and police. During this time last year, Miller, Brombolich and Stehman voted to suspend and place Williams on administrative leave. The suit said his last day as city manager was July 17, 2015.
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In one instance, Williams said he notified the state attorney general’s office and the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office in June 2015 after learning that the mayor solicited and received truckloads free topsoil from a city contractor.
Williams said he also disclosed Brombolich’s use of city credit cards and accounts for personal purchases to Collinsville police when she served as city clerk and director of operations in 2014. In Brombolich’s case, Williams said the mayor turned a blind eye to “misappropriation” of city funds, the suit contends.
Williams said, in retaliation, the mayor “repeatedly refused” to place Williams’ contract on the City Council agenda when it came time to consider renewing or extending the contract. The contract was set to end on Sept. 12, 2015.
He also said that the mayor “harassed and threatened” him directly and “through third-parties,” warning that Williams’ position as city manager “would not be safe.” Miller, Brombolich and Stehman voted to not renew or extend his contract.
Williams said he believes he was forced out of the job because of his “disclosure, or attempted disclosure, of public corruption and wrongdoing.” According to the suit, Williams is seeking actual damages, including lost wages, future wages, back pay, lost pension and other benefits, as well as other damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.
Williams’ lawsuit came more than two months after Brombolich filed her own lawsuit in federal court against the city, Williams and former Councilman Mike Tognarelli. The defendants have until Aug. 4 to file a response to Brombolich’s suit, according to an order signed by Judge David R. Herndon.