By KEVIN BEESE
BROADVIEW | An investigation has been launched to determine if the Broadview Public Works Department was used for private auto repair work.
Videos have surfaced of late-night car repairs being done apparently in the Public Works garage, space intended for maintaining municipal vehicles.
“The mayor wants a thorough investigation,” village attorney Michael Del Galdo said at this week’s Village Board meeting. “She’s made clear she wants an unbiased investigation and I think that that is best done when people don’t interfere and allow us to do our investigation.”
Del Galdo urged village trustees and residents with information about the alleged private car repairs on village property to come forward. The investigation will include examining if taxpayer-paid-for auto parts were used by the apparently moonlighting individual.
The videos of apparent off-the-books car repairs were first revealed through ABC-7’s I-Team. More than a dozen videos, Chuck Gowdie of the I-Team said, show everything from oil changes to major repairs being done in the Public Works garage after hours.
Broadview’s Public Works Director Matthew Ames was almost defiant Monday in addressing the cloud cast over him and his department.
“If, in fact, we have any implication of any impropriety or wrongdoing as it relates to Public Works – we have a fabulous police department, we have the Office of the Inspector General – you need to go to them. OK?” Ames said. “Running to news media for the sake of trying to get some air time is really just not the thing to do. So I welcome any investigation.
“Oh, by the way, the last time I was investigated … I had three board members at the court, at the trial, but nobody came back to tell you guys that the case was dismissed. Nobody came back and let you know that.”
Ames looked to address the issue at the end of his Public Works Department report at Monday night’s meeting, but was refrained from talking by Mayor Katrina Thompson.
“What I told Channel 7 News…” Ames began.
Banging her gavel, Thompson said, “You’re out of order.”
“I was still giving my report,” Ames responded.
“Not on that,” Thompson answered.
It was not until trustees’ questions of Ames several minutes later that Trustee Tara Brewer gave him the opportunity to provide his response that mimicked Del Galdo’s call for individuals to come forward.
The mechanic responsible for the apparent off-the-book car repairs was identified as Public Works employee Davanta Crews. It was reported that he has been suspended pending the investigation into the alleged private car repair. No mention of Crews or a suspension were mentioned at the Village Board meeting.
Earlier this month, the I-Team posted a video of Crews allegedly driving more than 100 mph on First Avenue. Their investigation said that on social media Crews claimed to be a Berkeley police officer. He posted a photo of himself as “Officer Crews,” wearing a police vest with a Berkeley Police Department patch on it.
The Berkeley Police Department said Crews had been on a ride-along with an officer, but is not an officer there.
Outspoken resident Shirley Redman wanted answers at Monday’s meeting.
“I don’t know what is going on, Mayor. We need answers,” Redman said. “Was work being done on the side (at Public Works)? I am tired of the rumors.”