It appears the findings of the ethics investigation into Commissioner Rasor’s parking lot wheeling and dealing will soon be revealed. I am curious to learn its outcome and interested to see whether or not it has maintained a focus on ethics.
The vast majority of people operate well within the boundaries of the law, their behavior governed by personal values, morals, etiquette and ethics. But Mayor Ellison and others repeatedly announced Commissioner Rasor broke no laws, even before an investigator was hired. These repeated comments intentionally misdirect public attention away from ethics to legal questions. This misdirection also taints public opinion with an unsubstantiated conclusion.
In fact, it doesn’t matter whether Rasor’s actions were legal or not. What matters is whether or not his actions were in the best interests of the City of Royal Oak. That is the ethical issue to be resolved. Keep in mind that many perfectly legal activities that occur every day in business are totally unethical for a person in a position of public trust such as a sitting Commissioner.
I am also concerned with the hiring of an attorney for an ethics investigation. Even if this was the Commission’s attempt to misdirect the investigation’s focus into the legal arena, they should have hired a judge. Lawyers lead their clients in, around and through the law, judges determine whether laws are broken. And finally, I ask readers of this blog; do you think an attorney can appropriately judge another person’s ethics?
This week I became aware of another possible ethical violation by Commissioner Rasor. On December 6th, 13th and 20th, 2012 The Oakland Press published (and listed on its website) a supplemental section titled Notice of Delinquent Tax Parcels Subject to Foreclosure February 13, 2013, Andrew E. Meisner County Treasurer. One of the parcels listed, # 25-16-483-032, 423 N. Main St., Royal Oak, has delinquent property taxes totaling $311,631.32. The property owner listed is Murray Investments, LLC and the contact as Bob Murray c/o James B. Rasor, Attorney.
Is it ethical for a City Commissioner to represent a taxpayer owing $311,631.32 in delinquent taxes to the city he was elected to represent? Shouldn’t a City Commissioner always represent the City in any situation involving something as critical as delinquent taxes? I think so. This appears to be a major conflict of interest; I believe this should be investigated and I will request the city to do so.