After hours of testimony, the city of Milledgeville Ethics Board found Mayor Gary Thrower in violation of the city’s ethics ordinance. That came after Virginia Knapp, a citizen filed a complaint.
Back in March, Knapp filed her complaint after Thrower cast the tie-breaking vote to grant "special use" to two properties in the historic neighborhood where he owns property on Washington Street.
A developer wanted to turn the two properties at 230 and 240 Washington Street in to group housing for college students.
She says Mayor Thrower failed to disclose that he owns property in the neighborhood and that he might benefit from the change to neighboring properties.
“He could potentially make lots of money from that decision,” Knapp said. “If it were anybody else with the same situation, it would be wrong then, too. Because he’s in a public position, he’s held to a higher standard.”
Thrower and his lawyers didn’t see it that way.
“The ordinance clearly states that in order for me to have a conflict of interest, I needed to have a substantial interest in the property,” Thrower said. “I had zero interest in the property, so I feel like that I was in the right.”
The ethics board sided with Knapp’s argument finding Mayor Thrower in violation of the city’s ethics ordinance.
“It’s settled for me,” Knapp said. “I pointed out that something was a conflict of interest, the ethics board agrees with me I am satisfied with that.”
Thrower says if he could take back his vote, he wouldn't.
“I’m not too worried about this. This is water over the dam,” Thrower said. “We've got other things to worry about. This will either work itself out or it won’t. As I say, we’ve got things we need to be doing and concentrating on.”
The board’s decision now goes to the city council. They can choose to reprimand Thrower or not. Thrower also has the right to appeal the board’s decision if he wants, too.
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