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Ethics Committee Releases Probable Cause Against Mayor Marks

By: Eyewitness News Email
By: Eyewitness News Email

Tallahassee, Florida - June 20, 2012 - Noon -

Results of an ethics complaint against Tallahassee's mayor have been publicly released. Last week, the Florida's Ethics Commission found enough evidence to believe Mayor John Marks violated the state's code. The results come following Friday's closed door hearing.

According to the release, the commission found probable cause to believe Mayor Marks had a voting conflict when he voted to approve the city's participation in a federal grant partnership with the Alliance for Digital Equality, or ADE, because the mayor served that organization as a paid board member. However, the Commission found no probable cause the mayor had a contractual relationship with ADE while the non-profit group was doing business with the city because ADE never had a contract with the city.

In a separate complaint, the commission found probable cause to believe Mayor Marks voted on matters in March, June and September of 2007 and June 2008 to help the Honeywell Corporation while the mayor worked for a law firm representing Honeywell.

However, the commission found no probable cause on five accusations Mayor Marks had conflicts of interest as a result of the city's contracts with Honeywell.

While Mayor Marks didn't speak to us after he left Friday's hearing, later that afternoon, he did release a statement. It says in part the commission's decision was not a finding of wrongdoing. It also says when all the facts are considered, he's confident any decision with reflect the truth. Marks believes that the truth is he acted in the sacred trust of public service.

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Tallahassee, Florida - June 20, 2012-

The Commission’s press release from its June 15th meeting is attached.

The Commission found that there was probable cause to believe that Tallahassee Mayor JOHN MARKS had a voting conflict when he voted to approve the City’s participation in a federal grant in partnership with the Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE), a company he served as a compensated board member. However, no probable cause was found to believe that Mayor Marks had a contractual relationship with ADE while ADE was doing business with the City, because the City never entered into a contract with ADE.

In a separate complaint, the Commission found probable cause to believe that Mayor Marks voted on matters in March 2007, September 2007, June 2007, and June 2008, that inured to the gain of Honeywell—a client of his law firm. However, the Commission found no probable cause on five allegations that he had conflicts of interest as a result of the City's contracts with Honeywell.

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Tallahassee, Florida - June 19, 2012

Results of an ethics complaint against Tallahassee's mayor are expected to be publicly released Wednesday. That word came from the state's ethics commission. The commission did find enough evidence to suggest Mayor John Marks may have violated the state's ethics code.

Mayor John Marks and his attorney left the state capitol on Friday without comment, other than to confirm Florida's ethics commission found the mayor may have broken state law. Local businessman Erwin Jackson complained the mayor profited from the Alliance for Digital Equality and the Honeywell Corporation while supporting city contracts for those organizations. The ethics commission has agreed there may be some truth to those claims.

"They came to a conclusion many of us knew was very obvious, that John Marks used his office of the mayor for his own personal, private benefit," says Erwin Jackson, the man who filed the complaint against Marks. It's not the first time Jackson has accused Mayor Marks of wrongdoing. In March, the mayor pointed out anyone can file a complaint and he said Jackson, who Marks referred to as an "angry man", had taken advantage of the system.

"There have been 12 complaints filed with the city since 2003. Can you guess who did it, huh? None of which have come to any conclusion that anybody violated the ethics law," Marks said.

A statement released by the mayor on Friday afternoon said this was not a finding of misconduct. He considers public service as mayor a sacred public trust.

In March, the mayor also addressed a pending FBI investigation on the same issues.

"I welcome their investigation. I have absolutely nothing to hide with regards to that," Marks said.

City Commissioner Gil Ziffer says before he can comment, he wants an opportunity to review the ethics commission report when it's made public later this week.

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Tallahassee, Florida - June 15, 2012 - 3:10pm

The Florida Commission on Ethics found probable cause in complaints filed against Tallahassee Mayor John Marks by local businessman Erwin Jackson.

Mayor John Marks was not available for comment.

Stay with WCTV for details.

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Tallahassee, Florida - June 15, 2012 -

A hearing for an ethics complaint against Tallahassee's mayor is taking place. Local businessman Erwin Jackson filed the complaint against Mayor John Marks.

At issue in this complaint is the mayor's association with two companies. As we've previously reported, the mayor voted to give a non-profit group called the Alliance for Digital Equality or ADE a city contract. The mayor had been paid thousands of dollars by that group.

As we've also reported, the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized files from the city attorney's office several months ago to take a look at this issue. However, to date, the U.S. Attorney has not taken any action in the case.

The current ethics complaint also claims Mayor Marks had an improper association with Honeywell. That company received a $50,000,000 no bid contract from the city to install smart meters to save energy.

The complaint claims the mayor's former law firm, the now defunct Miami based Adorno & Yoss, had Honeywell as a client. Therefore, Jackson claims the company was given favored treatment.

One of two things will happen today. The ethics commission will either determine there's enough evidence or probable cause to pursue the ethics complaint against the mayor, or the commission will decide there isn't enough evidence and drop the matter.

We should point out, this complaint is the latest in a series of complaints by Jackson against Mayor Marks. To date, none of them has resulted in a ruling against the mayor.


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