The former treasurer of the Minnesota State Fire Department Association was charged Monday with five counts of theft by swindle for allegedly stealing $188,000 from the organization over four years.
Anthony William Bronk, who also had been a Hugo City Council member, spent the money for personal expenses including a vacation to Cozumel, Mexico, according to felony charges filed in Ramsey County District Court.
Bronk, 42 and of Hugo, paid for maintenance on his BMW automobile with a MSFDA credit card, paid “wages” to his girlfriend who was not an association employee, paid for memberships in computer dating services such as eHarmony and Christian Mingle, and paid for vacation airfare on Delta and US Air flights, the charges said.
“Throughout the period of time in which he was taking money from the MFSDA, Bronk reported to the Association on the financial condition of the organization and failed to disclose any of the unauthorized expenditures,” the charges said.
He allegedly paid for liquor, lingerie, rental cars, hotel rooms, concerts, music downloads, flowers, jewelry, gasoline and even yard signs to promote his campaign for Hugo City Council. He also used an association credit card to visit Valleyfair and Disney World amusement parks, the charges said. Total credit card charges came to $135,000.
Bronk also overpaid his salary by forging the MSFDA president’s signature on 89 checks that totaled $53,000, the charges said.
He was charged with one felony count of offering forged checks in addition to the theft by swindle charges. The alleged thefts happened between 2010 and 2014.
Bronk, a Hugo volunteer firefighter at the time, joined the City Council in January 2013. He resigned in November 2014, citing personal reasons.
Given that Bronk held public office, the Washington County attorney’s office sent the case to the Ramsey County attorney’s office to avoid a conflict of interest.
The fire association represents all fire departments and firefighters in Minnesota on matters such as training, prevention and legislation.
Bronk was summoned to appear in Washington County District Court on Feb. 18.