The ex-director of General Mitchell Airport Ismael Bonilla responded Friday after he was fired due to an alleged ethics violation earlier this week.
Bonilla is accused of sharing private information with colleagues who used it for their financial benefit. He had declined to comment Thursday after news broke of his departure.
In a statement, Bonilla said he held high standards when operating the airport, adding, “It is with this in mind that I want to reassure my friends, family and teammates that I did nothing to compromise these values that I hold so dear.”
He was upset with Milwaukee County leadership, who, according to Bonilla, breached a confidentiality agreement when he agreed to resign.
“I was terribly (surprised) to hear from County leadership in media outlets that I was ‘ousted”’ because of integrity issues dealing with the County procurement process,” he said in the statement.
County Executive Chris Abele announced the firing in a statement of his own Thursday, and said, “The mere suggestion that the integrity of the procurement process was in question anywhere in County government would be a serious cause for concern.”
Milwaukee County Department of Transportation Director Brian Dranzik will serve as acting airport director.
Read Bonilla’s entire statement below:
I would like to thank my team at both Mitchell Airport and Timmerman Airport, for all the great accomplishments we have done together. During this period that I have been with them we have made significant changes and improvements to our Airports. We have seen solid passenger growth numbers, we have reduced our debt, and we have raised revenues. I wish to make sure they understand that during this short period of time that I have served with them, I have nothing but respect and admiration for the work they do on a daily basis.
As a senior executive serving for the County, I held myself to the highest standards and I expected my team to do the same. My integrity and my word are important parts of my personality, and I always made sure that we operated our airports to these high standards.
It is with this in mind that I want to reassure my friends, family and teammates that I did nothing to compromise these values that I hold so dear.
I was disappointed to see that the County breached our agreement on confidentiality when I agreed to resign. It does not signify that I am guilty of violating any laws, nor ordinances. I was not afforded the adequate time, or the opportunity to provide information concerning the investigation. I was terribly surprise to hear from County leadership in media outlets that I was “ousted” because of integrity issues dealing with the County procurement process.
Milwaukee County, your Airports are heading in the right direction, I hope that County leadership will be able to work with the County Supervisors in ensuring the success of their precious assets. Thank You.