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Avondale attorneys: Ethics complaint is ‘ridiculous,’ ‘illogical,’ ‘absurd’

Avondale Estates Decatur

Avondale attorneys: Ethics complaint is ‘ridiculous,’ ‘illogical,’ ‘absurd’

City Schools of Decatur Attorney Bob Wilson. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
City Schools of Decatur Attorney Bob Wilson. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

City Schools of Decatur Attorney Bob Wilson. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The Avondale Estates Ethics Board hasn’t met to consider a complaint filed against the city’s commissioners, but the city’s attorneys are already weighing in.

City Manager Clai Brown today released an opinion authored by city attorneys Bob Wilson and Stephen Quinn regarding the ethics complaint filed by attorney Joe Mandarino. The earliest the Ethics Board could meet is March 20.

Mandarino’s complaint said the City Commission erred by approving the annexation because there was a vacancy at the time. Former mayor Ed Rieker resigned on Oct. 2, leaving the Board of Mayor and Commissioners with four members. Terry Giager became interim mayor. The special election to replace Rieker is March 17. Five candidates are seeking the job.

Mandarino is asking for that election to be delayed because, his complaint contends, Stratford Green residents shouldn’t be allowed to vote because their annexation wasn’t valid under the city’s charter. His complaint also contends that the meeting for the annexation wasn’t properly advertised under state law. He’s also asking that city commissioners resign.

None of his allegations are true, the response from the attorneys says. The attorneys wrote that Mandarino has not presented evidence that anything unethical occurred.

Furthermore, the complaint’s claims that Rieker’s resignation rendered the board inept are “ridiculous,” the opinion says.

The decision to release the attorneys’ opinion is unusual, Brown said via email.

“As many of you are already aware, the City has received an ethics complaint filed against all four elected members of the Board of Mayor and Commissioners,” Brown said. “Recently the Complainant has requested a copy of our City Attorney’s legal opinion regarding the ethics complaint. I have also received a number of inquiries regarding this matter from residents of the community. As a result, I have decided to make a one-time limited waiver of the attorney-client privilege and share the City Attorney’s opinion with the Complainant and the community at large.”

Here is the opinion provided by the city of Avondale Estates’ attorneys …

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