State ethics commission evaluating Miller’s complaint
By Christina Martinez
Last fall Sugar Land resident, Diana Miller, filed a complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission alleging misuse of public funds by the City. Miller filed the complaint under section 255.003 – Unlawful Use of Political Funds for Advertising of the Election Code, claiming the City Manager, Allen Bogard, had knowingly used city funds to advertise for the November 2013 recreational bond election.
City officials at City Hall did not have a response about Miller’s complaint before our print deadline.
The Texas Ethics Commission is required to provide Miller with a quarterly notice of the status of her complaint, and Miller just received her third notice.
“I submitted my initial complaint and then what happens is the Texas Ethics Commission, a group of attorneys, review the complaint,” Miller said, “If they find merit they typically propose a settlement to the person who supposedly commits the infraction. If that person does not accept it, it continues back and forth. Eventually, it will go to public hearings if there isn’t a resolution.”
Miller submitted the original complaint last fall with concerns of how the proposed projects were presented. A copy of a Citizens’ Bond Committee agenda reads ‘“The City Wide View” represents how the committee would group the projects to ensure the most successful bond package with the most items passed.” A statement Miller has concern with, concern drawn from the “most items passed” statement.
Because the complaint is still ongoing, Miller has compiled a letter to the Texas Ethics Commission with additional information she has regarding the city and Allen Bogard to add to the initial documentation.
“The subsequent, political action committee that was formed, used a logo almost identical to the City Bond logo and the PAC was formed by Mr. Tim Stubenrouch, Bond Community Sports Park Sub Committee and chair,” Miller writes, “While the city video and community presentations specifically state that committee members “vetted” the bond proposals, the meeting notes indicate the proposals were already in place and did not change through the process.”
The letter also highlights additional information of committee members and their involvement with different city associations.
“There were a total of 94 members, 11 of whom were current City Board or Commission members and 48 of whom had completed other City of Sugar Land volunteer programs with several whom have served on past City Boards and Commissions. There were two former City Council members, three former Planning & Zoning Commissioners. 37 of the Bond Committee members would lend their name endorsement to the Bond PAC.”
Miller does not see an agreement to come about from her complaint and sees this ongoing issue to go to public hearings.
“You have to admit to committing the infraction and I don’t think Allen Bogard will ever admit to committing the infraction. So I think that’s why it’s continuing on.”
Short URL: http://www.fortbendstar.com/?p=42255