Collinsville Mayor John Miller is now the subject of a federal investigation after accepting three truckloads of dirt worth as much as $1,600 from a city contractor. This matter needs to be taken seriously because there are plenty of questions and little being released by the city to answer those questions.
U.S. Attorney Steve Wigginton said the “appropriate federal agency” is investigating Dirtgate after the matter was sent to him by the Madison County state’s attorney. The FBI is the likely agency, but they rarely comment on pending investigations and didn’t in this case.
Miller claims it was just a friendly matter when he wanted some fill dirt for his backyard and a city employee offered that he could get him all the dirt he wanted. No alarm bells went off in Miller’s head when three large trucks from a city contractor showed up and dumped 12 tons of dirt. No clue that there was a value to that hauling or that fill or that it was wrong for a city leader to take advantage of his position to get a “freebie.”
It finally dawned on him after a city worker made a formal complaint. He tried to pay for the dirt 10 months after the fact, but there’s no proof that he made the payment or the amount.
Collinsville won’t release Dirtgate documents because of the pending investigation. However, the one scrap of info they did release was that they have no paperwork proving that Miller paid for the dirt or how much he paid.
The News-Democrat is suing Collinsville to get city records regarding Councilwoman Cheryl Brombolich’s use of city credit cards for personal purchases. She was allowed to “retire” as city clerk and avoided prosecution.
Again, we don’t know the amounts or have proof that she repaid the city.
The public should be shown the proof behind what Miller and Brombolich are saying. Their perceptions of public service have already proven to be flawed, so their protests that they’ve done nothing wrong are a little too close to what we heard from Richard Nixon.
We all know how that turned out.