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Rock Island asks Mayberry to reimburse more expenses

Rock Island asks Mayberry to reimburse more expenses


ROCK ISLAND -- City leaders want former alderman Virgil Mayberry to reimburse Rock Island for additional expenses he charged to his city-issued purchase card during his time in office, bringing the total to $1,142.38 requested by the city. 

In a response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the Dispatch-Argus obtained a letter dated July 26 addressed to Mayberry asking him to reimburse $713.55 spent between April 18 and May 14.

A letter from the finance department states Mayberry has not paid back any money to the city yet, nor has Mayberry responded to any requests for reimbursement. 

"I am disappointed that (Mayberry) has not reimbursed the city," Mayor Mike Thoms said Wednesday. "It's something he's going to have to live with."

Mayberry was defeated by write-in candidate Randall Hurt by 36 votes in the April 2 municipal election. He continued using his purchase card until his last day in office on May 13. 

Mayberry would not comment on the recent letter or say if he plans to reimburse the city.

"Under the advice of my attorney, I've been told to offer no comment," Mayberry said. 

Mayberry said he doesn't think it's fair he is being asked to reimburse money aldermen previously approved.

"I know it's not fair; I followed the rules," Mayberry said. "I did the correct and proper thing. I did not break the law; I did nothing immoral. 

"This all goes back to Mayor Mike Thoms calling Martin Luther King Jr. a 'coon,' and you can quote me on that," Mayberry said. "(Thoms) lies; he is an outright liar. This is a game of politics and knowledge. I know what has happened to my family and me over this (expletive)."

The letter, sent by City Attorney Dave Morrison, is the second request sent to Mayberry asking him to pay back personal expenses. The first letter, dated June 21, was sent by Morrison and asked Mayberry to reimburse $586.14, which included the cost of a bulletproof vest purchased in 2016 from Uniform Den in Moline for $429.46 and clothing recently purchased from Land's End.

Assistant City Attorney Geoffrey Campbell sent another letter dated July 5, but the request incorrectly identified expenses not approved by council members during the June 24 meeting when aldermen refused to approve $712.92 spent by Mayberry using his city purchase card.

The unapproved expenses include $156 to Land's End for clothing, $60 to Stecker Graphics to custom embroider vests, $194.72 to Stecker Graphics for newsletters, $277.20 for postage and $25 for gasoline that Mayberry charged on May 13 — his last day in office.

Morrison has given Mayberry until Aug. 9 to reimburse the additional funds. 

"On July 5, 2019, my office sent you a letter asking for you to reimburse the city for the expenses which you charged on your city credit card which council declined to approve," Morrison wrote. "The itemization of the items council declined to approve listed in the July 5 letter to you was incorrect."

Morrison goes on to list the correct amount of $712.92 in unapproved expenses, adding, "Thank you for your cooperation with these requests. We anticipate reimbursement within 14 days of this letter's date."

Council members approved adoption of a new, stricter expense policy during the July 22 meeting following a series of stories by the Dispatch-Argus exposing years of spending issues with Mayberry and other aldermen. 

Thoms said he does not think the city will pursue legal action against Mayberry to recover the funds. 

"I have not heard any decision, but I would assume no," Thoms said. "I think a judge would rule it is a gray area. To spend money for an attorney and court time, I don't think it's worth the effort. The reimbursement would have to be less than what an attorney would cost.

"We've learned our lesson and we've changed the policy. I don't foresee any more problems," Thoms said. "The city needs to talk about positive things and move forward on bigger issues."


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