Ethics panel calls for censuring Collins

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The city's Independent Ethics Commission is calling for City Councilor Helen Collins to be censured, although it would rather see her removed from office, a move that might not be possible because she's an elected official.

In its nine-page report to City Council, released Monday by the city, the commission notes that Collins is guilty of allowing a political supporter, Douglas Bruce who helped her get elected to Council, to use her "in an attempt to circumvent the law," which has "no place in government."

"The fact that Collins helped Seller [Bruce] circumvent a debt through felonious means after he announced her political debt to him makes her actions unconscionable," the report says.

In addition, the report says Bruce and Collins both engaged in activity that constitutes a felony. The ethics complaint arises out of a land transaction in which Bruce deeded his late mother's condominium to Collins, who then transferred the property to a third-party buyer. Bruce orchestrated the transaction, the report says, to avoid paying the city a prior judgment against him.

Council is expected to take action on the report at 1 p.m. Tuesday at its regular meeting.

Collins maintains she did nothing wrong. During a brief discussion of how to proceed on the matter this morning, Collins insisted the Council discussion take place in open session. When she refused three times to remove herself from the discussion, Council voted to meet with its attorney in groups of two to avoid violating the Colorado Open Meetings Act, which bars quorums of boards and commissions from meeting in secret.

Here is the commission's report:

See related PDF IECReportCollins.pdf

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