SYRACUSE -- After running a stop sign in a Syracuse neighborhood, City Councilman Matt Kimmel got a stern warning from a city resident who witnessed the offense.
But it was how Kimmel implied he was a Syracuse city employee and challenged the authority of the witness that resulted in the 34-year-old councilman receiving a $93.10 fine for failing to yield for a stop sign.
Kimmel was fined after the witness filed a complaint with Syracuse police and later signed a witness statement from the Davis County Sheriff's Office.
Kimmel electronically paid the citation for the class C misdemeanor on July 14, according to Davis County Justice Court records.
"If (Kimmel) would have said he was sorry, I would have dropped it," Corey Merrill said of the June 28 incident that occurred near his home at 1900 South and 2265 West.
The Standard-Examiner made several attempts the past two days to reach Kimmel. Messages were not returned.
Syracuse Mayor Jamie Nagle declined to comment on the matter.
Merrill, 30, said he was standing in his front yard when he witnessed a man in a white sport utility vehicle run the stop sign at the corner.
"He blew through that stop sign," Merrill said of the driver, who was identified to him days later by police as D. Matthew Kimmel, a member of the Syracuse City Council.
After watching the car speed through the stop sign, Merrill said he yelled, "You'll never do that again," at the driver.
Kimmel then stopped his vehicle and waved Merrill over to the passenger-side window of his SUV.
"Do you see this? Do you see where I work?" Merrill said in describing Kimmel's response while pointing to his shirt bearing the Syracuse city logo.
Merrill then told Kimmel, "Of all people, you should know better."
From there, the conversation between the two men escalated, with Merrill using some profanity, what he called "colorful language," in explaining to Kimmel he now had his license plate number and was going to file a complaint with police.
Kimmel never got out of his vehicle or used profanity, Merrill said.
But it wasn't until being contacted by Syracuse police and informed that the complaint would be turned over to the Davis County Sheriff's Office because of a conflict of interest the city had in pursuing the incident that Merrill learned the driver was Kimmel, a city councilman.
"I didn't know he was a public official," Merrill said.
Syracuse Police Chief Brian Wallace said when they first received Merrill's complaint by email, "right out of the chute," they turned it over to the sheriff's office because of the potential conflict.
Wallace said he told Kimmel, "If that were one of my police officers (in the same situation) telling a citizen that they worked for the city, they would be getting days off without pay and could be in jeopardy of losing their job."
But, Wallace said, he doesn't know Kimmel's version of the story.
Davis County Sheriff's Deputy Casey Yeaman contacted Merrill at his home July 2, according to an incident report obtained by the Standard-Examiner through a GRAMA request to the Davis County Attorney's Office.
"(Merrill) explained the incident, but elaborated, explaining he and Kimmel had a brief argument that became vulgar. (Merrill) also explained that Kimmel was wearing a Syracuse city polo shirt and yelling, 'I work for the city,' " according to Yeaman's report.
Merrill agreed to fill out a witness statement and wanted a citation issued to Kimmel.
"I then showed a license photo of Kimmel to Merrill, who positively identified the driver as Kimmel, except that Kimmel now had facial hair, whereas the photo did not," Yeaman stated in his report.
Yeaman said he then went to Kimmel's residence to serve the citation.
In unrelated incidents, Kimmel remains part of an ongoing investigation by the Davis County Attorney's Office for a possible conflict of interest in a land deal as a member of the North Davis Sewer District Board. Kimmel has since been replaced on the board.
Kimmel has denied any wrongdoing.
Kimmel also came under fire during a recent council meeting after requesting information pertaining to the city's recreation programs from City Manager Bob Rice, then asking Rice to not tell other council members about the request.