El Paso Mayor Dee Margo responded to the first ethics complaint filed against him. The City’s private law firm representing the Mayor, Kemp Smith LLP, said the timing of the complaint is highly suspect especially with election season coming up.
The Mayor filed his sworn statement to the Ethics Review Commission on Monday. Ultimately, the statement referred to dismiss the complaints as “frivolous.”
“I think it’s a bogus, baseless complaint filed by an individual who is not a resident of El Paso. Not a taxpayer in El Paso. Not a voter in El Paso,” Mayor Margo told KTSM.
As we reported, the Mayor was granted an extension to respond to the first of two ethics complaints with a sworn statement to the city’s ethics commission.
The complaints were both filed by former El Pasoan and now Dallas attorney Stuart Blaugrund.
Blaugrund has accused Margo of violating state law by failing to report financial interest in the “Borderplex Realty Trust” and raised concerns over decisions involving re-development in Downtown El Paso.
The statement also reads in part, “The complainant’s timing in filing the complaint and actions following the filing of the complaint establish that the complaint is frivolous, politically motivated, and filed for the purpose of generating negative publicity for the Mayor at the onset of the election season,” Mark Osborn, attorney with Kemp Smith LLP wrote.
Blaugrund stated the timing of the complaint had nothing whatsoever to do with electioneering, “The complaint was filed less than one month after El Paso Inc revealed Margo’s continuing stake in Downtown re-development through his substantial investment in Borderplex Realty Trust.”
The statement also shared the potential impact on El Pasoans, “If frivolous complaints against the Mayor are permitted to proceed the legal fees will continue to increase. This is not only unfair to the Mayor, but most importantly, it is unfair to all El Pasoans.”
“Dee Margo’s disregard for transparency, accountability and disrespect for open government is alarming, but his conduct in concealing his half-million dollar investment in Borderplex Realty Trust is a particular disgrace. The special counsel’s decision to refer the complaints to the Ethics Review Commission for further action speaks volumes. The Mayor created his problems and he must account for his ethical lapses,” Blaugrund said.
The Mayor stood strong with his response, “The fact is members of his family have called me to apologize for his behavior. The response speaks for itself. I think it’s harassment on his part. It’s a shame, it’s a waste of time and energy.”
Margo said he is still expected to go before the Ethics Review Commission.
The statement ends by referring that, “…this complaint, and all other similar complaints, should be expeditiously dismissed as frivolous.”