Monday, April 22, 2013

Conflicts Allegations in the Public Eye

It’s been interesting to watch the public reaction to conflicts allegations regarding the appointment of a former law firm partner as Detroit’s emergency city manager, while his former firm providers services to the city. The evening news covered the issue and legal ethicists have opined "no conflict." Now a Detroit Free Press Columnist weighs in: "Don't be too quick to judge Jones Day Detroit contract" --
  • "The temptation is to call it an outrageous conflict of interest… I get it. The connection, the relationship ... it all sounds a little hinky. But ask around, and you’ll find that legal experts don’t see anything wrong with this deal. Orr resigned from Jones Day after his appointment as emergency manager, which he wasn’t required to do. Oftentimes, legal ethics consider acknowledgment of a potential conflict, with all parties declaring themselves satisfied, as a remedy for any possible conflict."
  • "Could this matter have been handled better? Sure. It’s the type of needlessly created controversy in which Snyder, state Treasurer Andy Dillon and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing sometimes seem to specialize. But the deal’s done now, and no one questions that Jones Day is eminently qualified to perform the work."
And in keeping with today's theme, another city government conflict issue covered by local media: "Delray Beach fires lobbying firm, nicely" --
  • "Delray Beach no longer has ties to the law firm of Weiss, Handler & Cornwell. Mayor Cary Glickstein said the lobbyist firm the city hired in December also employs Sen. Joe Abruzzo, D-Wellington, who has launched an aggressive audit of the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency — an action that may be perceived as a conflict of interest."
  • "'If there's a perception of conflict, that's enough,' said Glickstein at a Tuesday special meeting scheduled to consider terminating the contract between the city and the law firm."
  • "Glickstein then said he was uncomfortable with the city's relationship with the lobbying firm Abruzzo works for and ordered City Attorney Brian Shutt to bring the contract to the commission for review. But at Tuesday's meeting, Henry Handler, a principal of the firm, tendered the firm's resignation, saying he didn't want to create any kind of "awkwardness or potential distraction" for the city."

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