The City of Muscatine’s Attorney, Matt Brick, filed formal charges against Mayor Diana Broderson on Friday, February 17, 2017.
The twenty four page document includes twenty-one accusations of Mayor Broderson violating the City’s Ethics Code, five accusations of violating City Code, two accusations of the possibility of opening the city to potential liability, five accusations of Mayor Broderson acting without authorization of the City Council or City Administrator and two accusations of potentially violating federal law. In addition, the charges detail an alleged $1850 in campaign funding that was spent on mailing and a personal lawyer.
Listed in the charges are mentions of Mayor Borderson attempting to have state law rewritten to override the City Code in March 2016. Proposed changes to the law would allow the Mayor to not have to work through the City Administrators office to contact city staff, including the City’s Attorney.
Also listed in the charges is “$63,955.00 in unbudgeted attorney’s fees.” In addition to the attorney’s fees, the charges allege “$43,619.08 of staff time responding to the Mayor’s claims and allegations against the City, its elected officials, employees and contractors.”
The legal arguments listed in the final pages of the documents include,
- Defamation/ False Allegations
- Failure to Comply with the Code of Ethics
- Failure to Comply with the City Code
- Breach of Fiduciary Duties
- Misuse of Power/Abuse of Discretion
- Respondents Actions Were Willful
The charges list several legal actions that Mayor Broderson reportedly requested be pursued against City Staff, the City Council, the City Administrator, the City’s Attorney, Council Member Phil Fitzgerald, and two members of the local press. Each of these legal actions was deemed unfounded. No further action was taken on any of these issues.
Mayor Borderson’s “Coffee with the Mayor” is mentioned in the charges as a “meeting with the public that was not authorized by the Council.” The charges allege that discussions at these meetings involved interactions with various council members and the City Administrator.
According to an accompanying letter, the charges have been filed “after attempts to settle the matter were unsuccessful.” The council will now determine whether or not to move forward with the removal process.