CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Dear Fairhope City Council:
Recently several articles have been written in reference to Councilman Kevin Boone and the business connections he has through several LLC to individuals and engineering company Preble-Rish that are conflicts of interest. Mr. Boone has had these connections through the LLC’s for many years and has never acknowledged them or recuse himself from voting on any issues that came before him as a councilman or during his participation with planning and zoning.
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His direct business connection with Mr John Avent of Dewberry Preble-Rish, LLC dates back prior to his being on the council. Mr. Boone has voted for the last four and half years on Preble Rish projects, such as Firefly, where is listed on another LLC with Mr. Avent.
The most egregious and glaring conflict involves the Retreat at Fairhope village aka Fly Creek Apartments. Mr Boone attended and voted on this issue twice in Sept of 2016, SD 16.14, in a Planning and Zoning meeting while Mr Avent was the representing Preble-Rish. So, while Mr. Boone sat on P&Z and Council, Mr. Avent was at the podium and all the citizens present had no knowledge of their relationship.
During the last council meeting councilman Robinson, Conners and Brown all three acknowledge having a conflict of interest with certain council agenda items. They explained the conflict and abstained from voting. Mr. Boone has never done that as an elected official.
It is the responsibility of the Fairhope City Council to address this issue as soon as possible. The Ethics Commission puts the burden of reporting such conflicts of interest directly on our elected officials, once they have been notified and provided documents that support conflicts of interest. It should not be incumbent of the citizens to file an Ethics Complaint. It is clearly the responsibility of the council.
In the case of the Fly Creek Apartments, there has been discussion to repeal ordinance 1572. There certainly was a mandate to do so by the citizens who voted in a new Mayor and two new councilman who agreed the project was not in the best interest of Fairhope. Mr. Boone voted in favor of the project— go figure.
Are we to expect that if this repeal of Ordinance 1572 is proposed that Mr Avent will represent Preble-Rish and the Fly Creek Apartments as well as the property owner? And Mr. Boone, his private business partner, sitting on the City Council will vote yet again for HIS best interest and that of Mr. Avent?
Mr. Boone should resign from the Council. This would avoid any conflict of interest and enable him to continue with his business interests which he puts before the interests of Fairhope. Mr. Boone cannot be trusted.
The citizens of Fairhope should raise holy hell with the rest of the Council and insist that they address the obvious conflict of interests and not just remain silent and look the other way as the previous Mayor did.