Board member brings allegations of ethics violations at meeting of Augusta Downtown Development Authority

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Fighting Friday among members of the Downtown Development Authority.

At the meeting Friday morning there were allegations of ethics violations and underhanded dealings.

News 12 was the only television station there.

"What I want to know is when we talk about spending $50,000 of taxpayer's money, as a board member I have a fiduciary duty to look into that expenditure and make sure it is correct," said Brad Owens, member of the DDA Board.

The majority of board members say the sidewalk in front of the DeLaigle house on Greene Street is unsafe and unsightly.

But board member Brad Owens wanted to know why a sidewalk would cost so much money.

Downtown Development board members voted in favor of the repairs of up to $50,000 dollars.

"'Is this germane to the vote'? Does it deal with the sidewalk, Mr. Carter? Then yes it is germane to the vote. I haven't got my questions answered yet," Owens said.

"Mr. Owens, dear Mr. Owens," said acting chairman Dr. James Carter, "you have discussed, discussed, and discussed."

"Do I not have a right to ask questions about this vote when we are talking about this money?" said Owens.

"So we are not going to entertain further discussion. We have discussed and discussed and discussed and that is the ruling of the chair, sir," said Dr. Carter.

Owens has filed an ethics complaint against board chairman Paul King, saying that King being on the board while a company for which he is a minority owner, KHK, does rehabilitation work for the owner of the DeLaigle house constitutes a conflict of interest.

"I don't think there is any ethics violation," King said. "I don't own the building, I don't own the sidewalk, I think it was a malicious complaint. You would have to ask Brad Owens what his agenda was."

"The ethical issue is he had and has a direct financial interest in the property by being contracted by the people who own it," said Owens.

But the board agreed that DDA chairman Paul King did not violate any ethics.

"I felt I was ethical all along and my interests were those that were best for the city of Augusta," King said.

The same ethics complaint dismissed by the Downtown Development Authority is scheduled to go before the Augusta Commission next Tuesday.

On the Web: Augusta Downtown Development Authority