Ethics report alleges Oakland councilwoman violated city laws

OAKLAND (BCN)-- A report by Oakland Ethics Commission staff released to the public Monday summarizes evidence that Oakland City Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney violated three rules of the city's Government Ethics Act.

The staff report was released in an Oakland Ethics Commission meeting agenda for July 31, when commission staff will present the report at Oakland City Hall.

The report summarizes evidence that Gibson McElhaney violated the city's gift limits rule, the conflict of interest rule, as well as the city's economic interest disclosure requirements.

According to the report, the councilwoman solicited and received free gifts from developer JRDV Urban International as part of her participation in an appeal process by the Planning Commission related to a development adjacent to her home. JRDV Urban International at the time was doing business on multiple city projects, the report said.

Gibson McElhaney allegedly violated gift limits by receiving gifts from JRDV Urban International in excess of the annual limit.

Gibson McElhaney also allegedly breached conflict of interest rules by voting to extend the contract with and raise the amount available to pay JRDV Urban International.

Additionally, she allegedly violated economic interest disclosure requirements because she did not report the gifts from JRDV Urban International on a statement of economic interests, according to the report.

Ethics staff and Gibson McElhaney have been negotiating for four months to reach a settlement over the allegations but have not.

As a result, the staff is recommending that the commission refer the allegations to an administrative hearing.

Gibson McElhaney could not immediately be reached for comment.

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