Ethics group says, no conflict
- Published: February 24, 2014
Recently, the Ohio Board of Ethics determined that Village President Karen Wintrow does not have a conflict of interest regarding issues related to the Center for Business and Education, or CBE. Consequently, Wintrow is free to take part in and vote on CBE issues, according to the board’s report. Wintrow had recused herself from Council business on the CBE since a mid-January article in the Columbus Free Press that linked her husband to past CBE business.
In the article, Wintrow’s husband, architect Ted Donnell, was identified as the sole member of the CBE’s Design Review Committee in a 2006 covenant that the project’s creator, Education Village Inc. (the legal entity of Community Resources) had filed with a local court. At the time, Community Resources had a contract with K4 Architecture, which employed Donnell, for design work. However, since that time Community Resources dropped its contract with K4, and Donnell stopped working for the company. Consequently, there is no current conflict of interest, according to the ethics group.
“Provided that the involvement of the council member’s spouse has been completely and permanently terminated, she is not prohibited from participating in matters before council that affect it,” the ruling states.
The CBE issue was front and center for Council throughout the late fall, as Council members and citizens addressed a request that the Village provide $1 million in funding for the CBE infrastructure. However, the issue is currently off the table after Council Solicitor Chris Conard determined that a required step in the process, approval by Planning Commission, had not taken place. A request that the CBE be rezoned will come to the planners in March, and the question of CBE funding could return to Council’s agenda in late April, Interim Village Manager Kent Bristol said recently.
For a more detailed article on the conflict of interest issue, see the Feb. 20 issue of the Yellow Springs News.