Before the Brookfield Village Board turned the CVS loan deal into a shell game, there was one simple over-arching principle that needed to be addressed.

Does the Brookfield village president have any authority, on his own and irrespective of the amount of money involved, to loan village funds to anyone?

The answer to that question is just as simple.

And the answer is?”no.

Yet that fundamental fact has been ignored by the majority of the Brookfield Village Board since the time when details about the loan deal surfaced last summer.

The village’s attorney, trustees and President Bill Russ himself have said that the village has been in no way harmed by the transaction, that the village recovered its money plus interest and that there was no improper handling of the transaction.

This conclusion was arrived at despite the fact that the trustees have sullied Brookfield’s name by choosing to ignore a critical village ordinance, that the village actually lost money on the deal (when legal fees related to the transaction are taken into account) and that plenty of questions still exist regarding the entire deal.

The village says all requisite legal documents were prepared. Yet, no signed copies of those documents have turned up anywhere.

The village has a sworn affidavit from the man who received the loan saying he signed legal documents. It also has a sworn affidavit from the woman who signed the loan check saying he did not sign anything.

The village has two copies of a letter from the former village attorney?”one signed, one unsigned, the former courtesy of Trustee Michael Garvey, the latter from the former attorney?”expressing hesitancy about the loan deal. It’s a letter that was never provided with previous documents about the deal.

The reaction? Bewilderment.

Again, all of this begs the fundamental question: Did the village president have the right to authorize any type of loan to anyone for any reason.

The answer remains the same.

No.

The village’s attorney has suggested that the Cook County State’s Attorney and the Better Government Association have investigated the matter and have found nothing amiss. We would suggest that neither group has stated an opinion at all. That is hardly the same thing as saying they have found nothing improper.

And since the village board has seen fit to simply ignore the whole deal, we would urge the State’s Attorneys Office and the BGA to determine for the residents of Brookfield what their elected representatives refuse to do.

Get to the bottom of this mess.