Brentwood residents finally learned on Wednesday why their former city administrator, Chris Seemayer, suddenly and unexpectedly resigned more than three months earlier.
In a federal court on Wednesday, Seemayer, 52, pled guilty to embezzling approximately $30,000 in city money to fund personal gambling at the Casino Queen in East St. Louis, IL.
All of the thefts took place between Jan. 1, 2010, and March of this year, noted court documents. Seemayer withdrew cash advances on his city credit card for gambling money.
And while Seemayer's plea has been made public, city officials remain silent on most details surrounding the investigation, which was led by the .
Brentwood police declined all requests for comment (Police Chief Steve Disbennett took half of a vacation day on Wednesday), deferring to .
City hall employees deferred all comments to Mayor Pat Kelly. Interim City Administrator Ellen Rottjakob is also on vacation.
No one from city hall, the police department or the U.S. Department of Justice would tell Maplewood-Brentwood Patch when the investigation started.
But when reached by phone, the mayor credited city accounting staff for discovering that something was wrong.
An internal audit at the beginning of the year tipped city employees off. In March, those employees contacted Brentwood police, who looped in federal prosecutors, Kelly said.
"The staff noticed that documentation was not being submitted, which coincided at the first of the year, when we start our audit process," Kelly said.
Receipts should be turned in monthly, but Seemayer hadn't been submitting documents.
Kelly approached Seemayer on March 9 and placed him on administrative leave. On March 10, the Board of Aldermen held an emergency special session that was closed to the public to discuss a personnel matter. Seemayer resigned the next day.
Seemayer had an annual salary of $129,929.10 when he resigned.
"In any organization, things can slip through the cracks," Kelly said. "It wasn’t a huge amount of money stolen."
With an annual budget of $10.7 million, $30,000 amounts to how much the city spends for maintaining equipment in the sanitation department or hosting the annual golf tournament.
The city expects to reclaim the lost money.
"He will make full restitution and we will recover all of the funds," Kelly said. "It’s my understanding that the funds are in place."