City Approves Ethics Investigation Over Arts, Beats & Eats Controversy

Royal Oak City Commissioners want an outside investigator to determine whether Commissioner Jim Rasor has violated any laws or ordinances.

The Royal Oak City Commission approved an independent investigation to determine whether the actions of one its members constitute a conflict interest or an ethics violation at a special meeting at Friday evening.

Mayor Pro Tem Patricia Capello, who requested the special meeting along with Commissioner Peggy Goodwin, described receiving an anonymous letter on Aug. 14 that alleged inappropriate actions on the part of Commissioner Jim Rasor with regards to an Arts, Beats & Eats (ABE) parking station operation. Capello, who found the letter unsettling, followed up with City Manager Don Johnson who established Rasor had applied for an ABE parking station license for the former Fresard property. 

The Main Street property was recently purchased by 400 Main, LLC. The new owners are in the early stages of on the site, which would need approval from the Planning Commission and City Commission. Rasor sits on both panels. 

Capello requested “an independent, third party, subject-matter-expert attorney be retained” to investigate the matter and determine whether a conflict of interest exists and/or if any laws or ordinances were violated. When asked, City Attorney Dave Gillam estimated the cost of such a probe to be in the neighborhood of $5,000.

“I understand that we have a very specialized area of the law involved, and we also need to preserve the rights of the individual, who must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise,” she said.

The decision to appoint an investigator received unanimous support from commissioners, including Rasor. Keeping his remarks brief, the embattled commissioner said he was confident that he has complied with all ethics ordinances and welcomes the “investigation to render the same.”

“I would ask all bloggers and anonymous posters to reserve all judgment until the facts are all on the table,” Rasor said.

Public comment at the special meeting was minimal. Royal Oak resident Ron Wolf, who accused Rasor of "trying to ride two horses at the same time,” expressed disappointment the commission chamber wasn’t packed. Only five people voiced concern.

“We have an ethical issue,” said Rick Karlowski of Royal Oak. When a business that is still in the planning stages of a hotel development approaches a commissioner with a sidebar business it “reeks of Wayne County-ism,” he said. 

After the meeting was adjourned, Rasor reiterated that he has disclosed everything that was required of him under the ethics ordinance and that he had no “inside information.”

“It’s a private business deal, which benefits charity,” Rasor said. The commissioner has stated he planned to donate 15 percent of any revenue earned by the parking operation to the ROOTS foundation.

Ronald Wolf August 31, 2012 at 05:57 AM
Have you heard about the mathematical theory of the possibility of reproducing a work of genius (eg Shakespear) if you have an infinite number of monkeys typing away on an infinite number of computers(originally typewriters)? Apparently in Royal Oak if enough residents who can type write into the Patch the reverse happens as more letters sound like they have banannas in their mouths. This is why I am taking a break. Its either that or there has been an increase of outpatients on weekend passes.
Detox August 31, 2012 at 01:00 PM
THAT was some break, a whole two hours! Paternak was right.
Detox August 31, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Er, its not a mathematical theory, more like a joke.
Ronald Wolf August 31, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Paasternak is always right Detox, encourage HIM to run for office. You can be his manager. As far as to whether "Er" is a mathematical theory or a mere joke you should refer that to our city commission where I am sure they will in turn refer you to a paid qualified outside opinion. My physics professor when he told the story told it with a pretty straight face. Just like our council had on the question of an ethics violation by Rasor. Now if you permit me I will return to my break which is just a break not a vow of silence. Sorry If I disappointed you guys, you can go back to peeling your bananas now. Peace out.
Fullbright August 31, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Don: All of us here at the Institute "DVR" city commission meetings and them play them backwards as they were intended. Ironically, we have been able to divine that you and Wolf are examples of retro-evolution, and are evolving into simpler single-celled plants without nervous systems. Although you have plenty of sap.


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