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Ethics Determinations - 2002

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Number Date Questions

02-01

February 6, 2002 Complaint filed Nov. 9, 2001 by Nora Alicia Navarrete against Eduardo Garcia, Chairman of the Historic Design & Review Commission, alleging Mr. Garcia violated the following provisions of the Ethics Code: Part B, Section 2, Unfair Advantage of Private Interests; of Part B, Section 1, Improper Economic Benefit; Part B, Section 5, Representation of Private Interests; and Part B, Section 7, Public Property and Resources. A three (3) member Ethics Panel concluded that the Complaint filed against Respondent Eduardo Garcia:

(1) alleging a violation of Part B, Section 2, Unfair Advantage of Private Interests, should be sustained. 

(2) alleging a violation of Part B, Section 1, Improper Economic Benefit, should be dismissed for lack of evidence. 

(3) alleging a violation of Part B, Section 5, Representation of Private Interests, should be dismissed for lack of evidence.

(4) alleging a violation of Part B, Section 7, Public Property and Resources, should be dismissed for lack of evidence. 

The Panel had serious concerns that members of City Boards and Commissions may use their membership for business or personal advantage. Representations that a member’s position on a City Board or Commission provides an advantage to a client causes the appearance of impropriety and may, depending on the representation, be a direct violation of the Ethics Code. Such actions diminish the public’s confidence in the integrity, independence, and impartiality of said Board and/or Commission members. To promote confidence in the government of the City of San Antonio, the Panel strongly recommended that City Council direct staff to set firm guidelines in this area and advise those members of such guidelines. The Panel recommended that the Complaint filed against Mr. Garcia be forwarded to the City Council for its review and appropriate action.

02-02 February 13, 2002 Complaint filed Jan. 29, 2002 by Buster Lee Hafer alleging, among other things, possible violation of Part D, Sections 1,2 & 3 of the Ethics Code by unknown members of City staff. The Ethics Review Board meeting as a panel of the whole concluded: that the Complainant did not cite an identifiable individual charged with a violation of the Ethics Code, and the Ethics Panel could not determine any provision of the Code from which the facts cited could allege a violation. Complaint was dismissed.
02-03 May 14, 2002 Complaint filed Mar. 25, 2002 by David R. Fernandez against Robert “Tinker” Garza, Zoning Commissioner, Council District 4, alleging four (4) “improprieties.” A three (3) member Ethics Panel concluded that the Complaint filed against Respondent Robert Garza alleging that:

(1) Respondent filed the incorrect information on question (B) of the Financial Disclosure Report filed on March 1, 2002, is UPHELD. The Panel recommends that no action be taken, as there is no evidence that Respondent intentionally or knowingly made such false or misleading statement. Moreover, the Panel is of the opinion that it was not the intent of the drafters of the Code to penalize an individual required to file a Financial Disclosure Report pursuant to Part G, Section 1 of the Code for incorrect and/or incomplete information unless a mental culpability was present, analogizing the provisions of Part G, Financial Disclosure Reports, to Part E, Lobbyists. The Panel is further of the opinion that individuals required to file a Financial Disclosure Report under Part G of the Code be permitted to correct the erroneous statement as is provided for individuals required to file lobbyist reports set forth in Part E, Section 6(b) of the Code.

(2) The Complaint filed against Respondent alleging that Respondent falsified information on questions (C), (D), (E), (F), (G), (K), and/or (L) of the Financial Disclosure Report filed on March 1, 2002, is DISMISSED for lack of evidence.

(3) The Complaint filed against Respondent alleging that Respondent illegally expended campaign funds is DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction.

(4) The Complaint filed against Respondent alleging that Respondent submitted false and incomplete contributions and expenditure reports to the Alamo Community College District and Bexar Metropolitan authorities is DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction.

(5) The Complaint filed against Respondent alleging that Respondent failed to procure a building permit for the address at 3027 Navajo Street is DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction.

(6) The Complaint filed against Respondent alleging that RESPONDENT has a conflict of interest exists because Respondent serves on three (3) public boards: the Zoning Commission, the Alamo Community College District; and the Bexar Metropolitan Water Board is DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction.

02-04 May 14, 2002 Complaint filed Mar. 25, 2002 by David R. Fernandez against Enrique “Kiki” Martin, Councilman, District 4 alleging ten (10) unethical acts/omissions. A four (4) member Ethics panel concluded after considering the Complaint, that:

(1) With respect to all but one of the allegations contained in the Complaint, that such allegations fail to state a violation of the Ethics Code;

(2) With respect to the final allegation contained in the Complaint that Respondent used his official position to unfairly impede the private interests of the Complainant through interference with the employment of the Complainant, which could be a violation of Part B, Section 2 of the Ethics Code, the Panel found that there was insufficient evidence stated in the Complaint to warrant further proceedings in that regard. In particular, the Complainant failed to even name the employer that was the subject of the alleged interference. The Complaint was dismissed.

2-05 May 14, 2002 Complaint filed Apr. 18, 2002 by William Kendrick Snecker against Assistant City Manager Christopher Brady, City Planning Director Emil Moncivias and Chief Engineer of the City Development Review Department Robert Opitz alleging violations of Part B, Section 1, Improper Economic Benefit, and Part B, Section 2, Unfairly Impeding Private Interests. The Ethics Review Board meeting as a panel of the whole concluded: that all matters complained of allegedly occurred more than two (2) years prior to the date of filing, and therefore pursuant to Part H, Section 3 of the Code, the complaint was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
02-06 July 23, 2002 On June 4, 2002 the Ethics Review Board ordered a show cause hearing with regard to a complaint filed by Mr. David Fernandez on March 25, 2002, against Councilman Enrique “Kiki” Martin. The nature of the hearing was to determine whether the complaint filed by Mr. Fernandez was frivolous under the standards set forth in Part H, Section 4(c) of the Ethics Code. The Ethics Review Board meeting as a panel of the whole and by a vote of at least two-thirds of the Board present found the Complaint filed by Mr. Fernandez against Councilman Martin to be frivolous under the standards set forth in Part H, Section 4(c) of the Ethics Code. The Board recommended sanctions as follows: a civil penalty consisting of a $200 fine to be imposed by City Council and a letter of rebuke from the Ethics Review Board Chair.
02-07 September 23, 2002 Complaint filed Aug. 8, 2002 by SAPD Lt. Michael Akeroyd against SAPD Captain Vidal Resendez alleging that Captain Resendez had violated Part B, Section 2(b)(4) of the City of San Antonio Ethics Code by accepting a position within the San Antonio Police Department placing him in the line of supervision of a relative. The Ethics Review Board meeting as a panel of the whole concluded: that the San Antonio Police Department had taken timely action to remove Capt. Resendez from the line of his relative’s supervision. Specifically, Capt. Resendez’s supervisor, Deputy Chief Rosemary Flammia, had issued a directive stating, “all issues associated with Capt. Resendez’s brother will be forwarded and handled by Deputy Chief Steve Barrera, Investigative Division Commander.” The complaint was dismissed.

02-08

September 23, 2002 Complaint filed Sep. 3, 2002 by Tony R. Garza against Zoning Commissioner James McAden alleging Mr. McAden had made public statements that had created the appearance of a conflict of interest. The Ethics Review Board meeting as a panel of the whole determined that the allegations failed to state a violation of any provision of the Ethics Code. The complaint was dismissed.
02-09 November 19, 2002 Complaint filed Oct. 11, 2002 by Robert L. Gill, Jr. against Councilman John Sanders alleging various unethical actions. A three (3) member Ethics Panel met to consider the complaint. Many of the allegations made by Mr. Gill, Jr., concerned claims of misconduct that are outside the jurisdiction of the City of San Antonio Ethics Review Board. In particular, the assertions of improprieties in the matters pertaining to the Bexar County District or County Courts proceedings are not within the purview of the Ethics Review Board. Mr. Gill, Jr. also makes references to events concerning former Councilman Mario Salas, who left office in June 2001. These events occurred more than two years ago and therefore are outside the jurisdiction of this Board. Ethics Code Part H, Section 3. Regarding the complaint against Councilman Sanders for failure to take certain requested courses of action, this Panel finds that the claim for false imprisonment Mr. Gill, Jr. requested to be processed has in fact been processed. Regarding the request that Councilman Sanders “waive the 10-day rule” to obtain a report from Judge Cindi Krier, the proper venue to request the document would be to direct a Public Information Request to the Bexar County Courthouse. Regarding Councilman Sanders’ inaction concerning the litigation concerning the payment of back taxes, the Councilman had no standing or duty by law to intervene in the lawsuit. Accordingly, his inaction did not violate Ethics Code Part B, Section 2, the prohibition against using an official position to unfairly advance or impede private interests. Further, there is no evidence indicating that the Councilman had an improper economic interest, Ethics Code Part B, Section 1, in the proceedings of the Bexar County District Court. For the reasons stated, the Complaint was dismissed.


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