COLLINSVILLE, IL. (ECWd) -
Collinsville Alderwoman Cheryl Brombolich entered into a settlement, in the amount of $200,000, in the lawsuit she filed against the City of Collinsville prior to her becoming an Alderwoman.
It is well settled that a sitting member of the board of a local government CANNOT settle a lawsuit they filed against the local government they are a member of the governing board of when there is a financial benefit - directly or indirectly.
This is in case law (read this article) and also in the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act, Section 3 and others. It cannot be done and it is a crime because settlements are contracts and this one in particular involved $200,000.
Even if a court "approves" a settlement, the Court is simply approving and acknowledging the document was presented and filed and agreed to by all parties. The Court does not make any determinations in whether or not the settlement is fair, or even if it is lawful.
During the August 2017 meeting where this situation was discussed, council member Green opined that this settlement was "ordered" by the insurance company, that it was "ordered" by the Court, and that the council had absolutely no choice or decision in this settlement offer. Watch the video (here) at the 1:17:20 mark.
- A Court cannot "order" parties to settle
- A municipal insurance company cannot "mandate" the municipality to enter into the settlement
- A municipal insurance company cannot "dictate" the terms of a settlement nor can they eliminate the city council from a vote on the settlement agreement
- The settlement is an action of the city council and must be voted on by the city council
This is also indicated in the August 14, 2017, City Council Meeting Minutes, on page 5 (here).
In our opinion, Councilwoman Brombolich should be charged with this felonious violation of the law and be removed from office.