A Broadway Town Council member was in court this week on accusations that he physically assaulted a former employee at his business.
Rhonda Wroblewski, of Basye, filed misdemeanor charges of assault and battery and preventing telephone access to 911 against Chad Comer, owner and operator of Blue Ribbon Nursery and Landscaping in Broadway.
Wroblewski submitted the criminal complaints against Comer on Sept. 14 with a magistrate, meaning police did not file a report.
Wroblewski accused Comer of yelling and grabbing her arm hard enough to cause bruising on Sept. 2 after she had given her two weeks notice as an employee of the garden center.
Comer was found not guilty of the telephone charge. The judge determined there was sufficient evidence for a guilty ruling on the assault and battery charge, but deferred disposition until Dec. 19, 2023, at which time the charge will be dropped if Comer meets certain conditions, according to court documents.
“I am completely against any act of physical harm towards another individual and I have not been convicted of any crime,” Comer said in the statement.
“The event in question is a private matter between myself and a former employee,” the statement said. “[It] is not a reflection of my business operations or public service.”
According to the criminal complaint, the incident occurred in the back room of the garden center. Wroblewski said she refused to do a job at work, and she knew Comer was going to work her hard after giving her notice. She told Comer she would not be able to work the rest of the two weeks, according to the criminal complaint.
Wroblewski said Comer “exploded” in response, telling Wroblewski she was “not going anywhere,” and Comer grabbed and “clamped down” on her upper arm, the complaint says. Wroblewski said Comer let her go after he told her to and then followed her as she left the building, loudly saying he was “throwing her out.”
Wroblewski said she went to another building to collect her things. She said Comer followed her and handed her a paycheck. Wroblewski also claimed that Comer took her cellphone after she threatened to call the police.
During Monday’s hearing, a police officer presented body camera footage in which Comer admitted to the officer he had grabbed Wroblewski, according to court documents. Wroblewski said bruises formed on her upper arm as a result of the incident and presented multiple photos to support her claim.
Comer was ordered to not contact Wroblewski, receive no further criminal charges and maintain good behavior, according to the judge’s order, which was agreed upon by the parties.
Wroblewski said she was satisfied with the decision on Wednesday.
“It is my hope that all parties can move forward amicably,” Comer said in the statement.