Investigations underway of suspected secret garage in Broadview

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation
BROADVIEW, Ill. (WLS) -- Broadview officials are promising a full investigation of videos uncovered by the I-Team that appear to show a private business operating inside a government garage.

Even before the report aired Monday, word of the ABC7 investigation had spread across the village of less than 8,000 people: an apparent after-hours car repair business was operating inside the town's Public Works Department.

A Broadview Village Board meeting was underway when the I-Team investigation was broadcast showing work allegedly being done by a town mechanic on private cars in the middle of the night.

During the meeting, the village attorney revealed that officials hadn't yet seen the videos but urged a full investigation.

"It's not a matter of secrets, it's not a matter of transparency it's a matter of legal rights," he said.

Trustee Tara Brewer said she sought out the videos to see for herself what was happening.

"It was very concerning to me," Brewer said. "That I actually heard money being said that they were gonna be paid down there. Jobs that would've been in a normal shop 6-thousand dollars they were charging two thousand dollars for. I seen village employees cars on the videos. And it wasn't just one or two videos it was over 20 videos down there."

Even before the I-Team report, Department of Public Works Director Matthew Ames was explaining to the village board that he hoped for a full investigation of any wrongdoing. This mirrored what Ames previously told ABC7: that he knew nothing of an after-hours, off-the-books car repair operation inside his facility.

The pledge to get to the bottom of whether a private business was operating in a public facility is being tempered by the political reality of life in Broadview.

"We don't work well together as a village. I mean if anybody comes to our board meetings we barely get anything done because we have not adopted the concept that it's not ok to disagree," Brewer said.

In addition to Broadview's internal review of the issue, the mechanic heard on the I-Team video has been suspended by village officials. Also, The Cook County Inspector General is now investigating. null
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