Collinsville City Councilwoman Cheryl Brombolich has “absolutely no intention” of leaving her elected position with the City Council, she said earlier this month.
On Monday night, two of her fellow council members, Jeff Kypta and Nancy Moss, called for her resignation. This followed the city’s release of documents to the News-Democrat showing that Brombolich tried to hide her personal use of a tax-free city account when she held the dual role of city clerk and director of operations in 2014. Brombolich later resigned from that position and successfully ran for City Council in the April 2015 election.
Brombolich did not respond to a request for comment sent via email on Tuesday morning. But she previously responded to questions submitted by the BND, including whether she had plans to leave the City Council.
“I am a life-long resident of the City of Collinsville. It is my home. I love this City and have worked hard to make this a better place to live,” Brombolich wrote. “I have absolutely no intention of leaving the City Council or ever backing away from looking out for the best interest of the residents of Collinsville and demanding that all of us, including myself, be treated fairly.”
The documents released by the city about Brombolich were compiled by her boss at the time, former City Manager Scott Williams, in an investigative file regarding Brombolich’s personal use of city credit cards and accounts going back to 2004. The documents were released after the city fought for eight months not to provide them. The BND filed suit and Madison County Associate Judge Don Flack ruled they were public records.
The documents showed Brombolich routinely used city credit cards and tax-free accounts for personal purchases during her tenure as a city employee, a practice Brombolich says was widespread at City Hall.
I have absolutely no intention of leaving the City Council or ever backing away from looking out for the best interest of the residents of Collinsville and demanding that all of us, including myself, be treated fairly.
Cheryl Brombolich, Collinsville councilwoman
In some cases, Brombolich reported her personal purchases to the city; in others, the city discovered them months, and even years, later. Brombolich repaid all the money, according to city officials.
In a written statement to the BND, Brombolich said Williams assembled the documents to discredit her after he “forced” her to resign as city clerk.
The documents included text messages between Brombolich and Collinsville Finance Director Tamara Ammann in which Brombolich begged Ammann not to tell Williams that she once again had charged a personal purchase to a tax-free city account, claiming it was just a mistake.
“Just let me take care of it and act like u never saw it,” Brombolich wrote on Sept. 11, 2014, in a string of text messages to Ammann, her friend and colleague.
Brombolich says she did not ask Ammann to hide her latest personal charge from her boss.
“... I was pleading with her to let me be the one to tell him about a mistake others had made that I was being forced to pay for,” Brombolich wrote in her statement. The documents show Brombolich sent 43 pleading text messages before mentioning for the first time that she wanted to inform Williams of the charge herself.
She stated that she felt Williams was “looking for reasons to terminate me” because she had twice been critical of Williams’ handling of some issues in the city.
Brombolich wrote to the BND that she “will cooperate and gladly contribute to any public investigation of the government of Collinsville for the times I was either an employee or an elected official.”
“To this point, I have remained silent on the advice of counsel. I have stood by quietly as other City officials endeavored to divide our government and embarrass our city,” she wrote. “Moving forward, it is my sincere hope that the elected officials will work together to advance the best interests of our City rather than the narrow interest of a small clique of disaffected malcontents.”
Kypta and Moss previously stated during a press conference in July on the steps of City Hall that Brombolich attempted to conceal her personal use of a city credit card and city accounts, and that she asked Ammann to cover up the “misuse” of city funds. Brombolich described the press conference as “circus-like.”
Moss has said she believes that Brombolich’s use of the city’s credit card was a “betrayal of trust.”
“Cheryl had the authority to do certain things and she did the wrong thing ...,” Moss said in a previous interview.
Brombolich’s term on the council will expire in April 2019, according to the city’s website.