UPDATE: Collins: Ethics probe a frame job


UPDATE: Douglas Bruce tells us that the city's letter about lawyer fees actually says she can spend up to $10,000 on attorney fees. Collins' letter is complaining that the IEC did not divulge that reimbursement, he says.

"In other words, the IEC concealed the payback," he says. 

——ORIGINAL POST FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015, 1:16 P.M.—————————————————-

The latest information about the city's ethics complaint against City Councilor Helen Collins comes in a letter Collins wrote today to the Independent Ethics Commission's legal advisor, Jane Feldman of Denver.
Collins is facing recall in the April 7 city election. She also faces an ethics complaint about which you can read more here. Most recently, she was called out by a Kansas City, Mo., neighborhood for junk properties.

Among the points Collins raises:

— The IEC is apparently giving Collins only a few days to find a lawyer and that lawyer to get up to speed on the case.

— The IEC also has told Collins she will have to repay all legal expenses, including the city's, if she's found to have created the perception of an ethics violation. She points out the city and IEC have a financial incentive to hang her out to dry.

— The city apparently sent a letter to Helen S. Collins and used an email that the city councilor, who's name is Helen P. Collins, says "do not exist."

— Nothing in the city's rules say that complaints deemed non-frivolous are no longer confidential, except that the investigation is confidential and the recommendation to Council is confidential. "Where do the rules say it becomes an open investigation before resuming confidentiality?" 
Here's what the city told us when we asked this question some time ago:
The City's Ethics Code is silent on confidentiality after a complaint is determined to be non-frivolous. To determine that issue, we look to CORA at that point and CORA does not contain an exception for a non-frivolous IEC complaint. The City has consistently, pursuant to CORA requests, released ethics complaints that have been determined non-frivolous by the IEC.
— The timeframe for the IEC's deliberations hasn't been made clear to her, including deadlines to respond.

We've asked Feldman to comment on Collins' letter and got this email message in response: "I cannot comment on the investigation."

Here's Collins' letter:
See related PDF Ethicresp2.pdf

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