Oversight groups agree: Bloomington mayor broke law
It's against the law to use a city credit card for a personal purchase, regardless of whether the city is later reimbursed, two groups keeping an eye on an ongoing Bloomington controversy agreed upon meeting recently.
The Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW) joined Diane Benjamin from BLNNEWS.com to discuss Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner's purchase of an airline ticket for his girlfriend to accompany him to a sister city celebration in Japan.
In a video of the interview posted on the ECW's YouTube account, co-founders Kirk Allen and John Kraft recap the controversy with Benjamin, saying that although Margot Ehrlich later paid for her ticket, that's not the issue that runs afoul of multiple state and local laws, including a section in the Illinois Constitution.
“...You can’t use the credit card for a personal purchase and then pay it back,” Allen said, pointing out a case i which the former mayor of Pekin was convicted of a felony for using the city’s credit card for a personal purchase, which he reimbursed the next day. Renner’s actions also violated the city’s policy, Benjamin said.
“If you just look at the purchasing card policy for the City of Bloomington, it’s written all over it,” Benjamin said. “You can’t make personal purchases.”
The story surrounding the purchase has shifted several times, including recently to say that Renner’s girlfriend was part of Bloomington’s Sister City Commission, a claim that does not pan out with committee meeting minutes, the ECW said. The group noted that the case is being investigated and called for the local state’s attorney to press charges.