ANGLETON — Danbury’s former city secretary promised to repay every penny she stole from the city and will spend 90 days in jail after pleading guilty Friday to aggregated theft by a public servant.
Jenny Brogger, 47, also will spend the next 10 years on probation under a plea agreement, court documents show.
“I would like to express my sincere apology, to the city of Danbury, my family and friends for my actions and mistakes. I take full responsibility for my actions and have full intentions of making my mistake right,” Brogger said at Friday’s hearing, reading from a letter of apology required as part of her plea deal.
Brogger owes the city $307,255 in restitution and investigative costs after auditors last October found discrepancies in the city’s books When then-mayor Richard Stone confronted Brogger about the irregularities, she reportedly admitted taking the money to support a gambling problem, Stone said.
Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri Yenne said her intent is for the city to receive every “red cent” back.
Brogger paid $100,000 in restitution Friday and will pay another $207,255 at a rate of $1,332 a month, according to court documents.
“It’s very repugnant to me when people steal public funds,” Yenne said.
The 90-day prison sentence improves the chances Brogger will be able to make the court-ordered payments, and the $100,000 paid Friday proved Brogger is serious about repaying the money, Yenne said. Jail time also gives Brogger time to think about her actions, Yenne said.
Brogger, who was the city secretary since 2004, also is required to complete 800 hours of community service and undergo a psychological evaluation. If she violates any of the terms of her probation, she could face life in prison, Yenne said.
In jail, Brogger “needs to think about what her future would look like if she violates the terms of her probation,” the district attorney said.
The “high-risk” probation means she has to check in more often than with other probations, she said.
Drinking alcohol or leaving her home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. would be a violation of the probation.
Yenne knows how important it is to the hard-working taxpayers of Danbury their money be returned, she said.
“My goal is to make sure that the city of Danbury is totally made whole on their taxpayer funds,” Yenne said.
Along with the $50,000 bond the city received, it also received $150,000 of its money back, she said. There’s no sure promise the city will get the rest of the money back, but Yenne said the plea agreement is the best possible way to get it.
Newly elected Mayor Melinda Strong said the city is ready to put the episode behind it.
“My heart goes out to everyone affected by this situation in our community,” Strong said. “All we can do is move forward together.”
Brogger’s actions came to light in October when a CPA discovered checks written to Brogger for $3,400 and $1,500 with no explanation, according to court documents. Other transactions showed the city’s credit card was used to transfer $3,000 to Brogger’s PayPal account, advance $306 cash in Bossier City, Louisiana, and pay $203 for a hotel room in Shreveport, Louisiana.
According to the restitution information, the total loss from the city was $284,030.90.
The theft occurred “on several occasions” between May 2016 and October 2017, the documents state. Another $23,000 went toward investigative and auditing expenses related to the theft, Yenne said.
City government has taken several steps to make the city more financially secure, The Facts previously reported.
Danbury now requires two signatures on every check and hired Ginny Gratzer, a CPA, to audit the city’s finances.
Brogger immediately went to the Brazoria County jail from court to begin serving her sentence. She is scheduled to be released Aug. 22.