finds no conflict of interest
rescindment needs reasons
Express Staff Writer
learned more Thursday night about the Bellevue City Council’s
rescindment of its approval of the Maple Ridge Subdivision, an action
taken at its meeting two weeks ago.
question of a conflict of interest was raised at the council’s March 14
meeting, when Councilman Wayne Douthit made three motions to revisit, to
rescind and to table the subdivision’s preliminary plat, which had been
conditionally approved on Feb. 28.
Bellevue prosecuting attorney Frederick Allington dismissed any question
of conflict of interest on Thursday night.
Allington’s opinion, there was no conflict of interest on the part of
the Bellevue Planning and Zoning Commission in recommending approval of
Maple Ridge’s preliminary plat to the city council.
also said there was no conflict of interest on the part of Commissioner
Mike Choat in representing Maple Ridge developers Cindy and Ken Ward.
March 14 meeting, Douthit said he thought there might be a conflict of
interest involved with the subdivision, which he said he wanted to discuss
in executive session.
council members voted unanimously for each motion, except for the absent
Parke Mitchell and Tammy Schofield.
no discussion of the motions before they were voted on.
determine if there was any misconduct on the part of the city or Choat,
Mayor John Barton asked Allington to look over the minutes of the March 14
told the council that he had determined that Choat had informed the
P&Z that he was representing the Wards and that he had recused
there was no conflict of interest," the attorney said. "Idaho
Code says he could do what he did if he acknowledged a conflict and
Allington told the council that if the council had rescinded its Feb. 28
vote because of a conflict of interest, "then this is not a reason
and it shouldn’t have been discussed in executive session."
Dale Shappee said he had no recollection of a conflict of interest being
discussed in the executive session that followed the March 14 council
He said he
originally voted against the Feb. 28 motion to conditionally approve the
Maple Ridge preliminary plat, so he was "glad to see it
He told the
council he voted for the rescindment because he thought the application
halted it because of the merits of the subdivision," Douthit said.
resigned as a P&Z commissioner on March 19, stating in his letter,
"Due to Galena Engineering’s recent string of projects within the
city of Bellevue, it has become uncomfortable for me to serve my clients
and serve on the P&Z."
was present Thursday night representing the Wards, was praised by Barton
for his seven years of service to the city.
chair, Laira Thomas, added her praise and her support of Choat.
the council that he was "very clear" about stating when he was
representing a client and then recusing himself.
Parke Mitchell said, "I think Mike represented himself
that he thought "the nut of the whole issue" was whether or not
the council had reason for rescinding its approval of Maple Ridge.
the Ward’s attorney, told the council that under the open meeting law,
his clients were entitled to know the reason why their application had
the council gave no reasons Thursday night, Councilwoman Joanna
Ehrmantraut made a motion to hold a special meeting to discuss the
rescindment and the merits of the subdivision.
date for the meeting has been set for April 9.
morning, Choat said he was glad he had been "vindicated of any
wrongdoing" by the city’s attorney.
knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, I never thought I had done anything
wrong," he said. "I am still a great friend of the city, and
will do all I can to help the city."