Locals escape 'bad ethics' list

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UPDATE: Jane Norton's press secretary, Nate Strauch, wrote in to point out that the Norton named in the Ethics Watch report is Gale Norton, not Jane Norton (no relation). The change is reflected below.

You could say that Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera made the semifinals, but fell short of the Big Dance in Colorado Ethics Watch's 2009 wrapup.

On Thursday, Ethics Watch, a "nonpartisan, nonprofit legal watchdog group," released its Top 5 Colorado scandals of last year. Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis made the list, as did Republican Senate candidate Jane former state Attorney General Gale Norton. No one from Colorado Springs earned mention.

About six months ago, when Ethics Watch released its second annual Ethics Roundup, a compendium of "the good, the bad and the ugly," Rivera made the "ugly" section. That, of course, referenced an alleged conflict of interest in the city's deal to keep the U.S. Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs; Rivera was an investment adviser to LandCo Equity Partners, city government's original partner in the deal. Though LandCo leaders have since been indicted by a grand jury on a variety of counts (perhaps related to the USOC deal), Rivera was cleared by a local two-person ethics committee in August.

For the record, an "ugly" assessment means that an official demonstrated "a lapse of ethical judgment," and some have argued that Rivera certainly did in failing to recuse himself from investment work for Marshall as it started becoming clear that LandCo would get the USOC contract. (Marshall apparently was the one to request that he cease handling LandCo-related accounts.) But clearly, that wasn't scandalous enough to catapult Rivera into ’09's Top 5.

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