No conflict | Arkansas Blog

Monday, September 22, 2008

No conflict

Posted By on Mon, Sep 22, 2008 at 3:32 PM

City Attorney Tom Carpenter said there was no rule prohibiting an employee of Moses-Tucker from voting on a Riverdale District design committee considering  the Aloft Hotel proposal being handled by Moses-Tucker.

Except simple common sense, of course.

QUESTION FROM KATHY WELLS OF DOWNTOWN NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION TO CITY ATTORNEY TOM CARPENTER

please address the conflict of interest that occurred yesterday when the
River Market Design Review Committee voted upon the Aloft Hotel application
for a waiver, seeking permission to build a 7-story structure.

today's paper listed Committee member Ann Wait as voting Yes upon the waiver
request, and identified her as an employee of Moses Tucker Real Estate, at
the same time it named Jimmy Moses of the same firm as the agent for the
owners seeking the variance, appearing before the Committee.

The City Code of Ethics prohibits an interested party from voting upon
matters before city boards and commissions to their own benefit, or the
benefit of their business, or family members.

Please uphold the Code of Ethics in this case, and remedy this flagrant
conflict.

Yours Truly,
Kathy Wells

RESPONSE FROM TOM CARPENTER

Dear Kathy,

      I sent a response to Mayor Stodola on this question last week (or whenever you raised it). I thought that you were copied. Perhaps not. I will provide a more detailed response to the Mayor, that he can share with you, but here is the executive summary: (1) The River Market Design Review committee is made up of owners of property within the district intentionally, so there will always be some kind of impact on the various owners of any decision – that was the policy decision initially made by the Board of Directors; (2) Because of the way the City Code of Ethics is drafted, if there is not a direct or indirect financial impact on a member of the Committee, then there is certainly no conflict; (3) In the past, this office ruled, in a case involving Hank Kelley and John Flake, that Mayor Dailey did not have a conflict because at the time the Flake group was divided into real estate management and real estate development, and the two sides did not share funds or costs; in this situation, we were informed that the same was true at Moses/Tucker (incidentally, the Hank Kelley situation came up again a couple of years later, but the method of operation of the company changed, so Mayor Dailey had a direct conflict of interest). Anyway, by the language of the two ordinances, this was not a disqualifying situation in the River Market.

      Please note also that I mentioned to Mayor Stodola that we have some problems with our conflicts ordinance that should be addressed; he agreed, and indicated that he also has some issues that he would like to be addressed.

                                                                                    Tom

 

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