Ethics Complaint Against Dallas City Council Member Philip Kingston Delayed Until After Election Day

An ethics complaint against Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston will have to wait until after Election Day.On Tuesday, Kingston and his counsel, lawyer Victor Vital, won a continuance from the city’s Ethics Advisory Commission to push back his hearing until May 28.The allegation against Kingston -- who is running for his fourth term on the City Council -- was made anonymously through the City’s Auditor’s office in late March. The complaint stated that Kingston was in violation of the city’s Code of Ethics when he pushed a zoning change for his East Dallas neighborhood that he knew “would affect his own economic interests.”At the center of the case is Kingston’s push for Accessory Dwelling Units -- often known as mother-in-law suites or granny flats -- within Dallas. The council member argued that the construction of the units, which are often rented out, would promote diversity of incomes and age within neighborhoods.But the complaint argues that Kingston “initiated, engaged, promoted and finally voted in favor” of allowing ADUs in the Belmont Addition Conservation District while at the same time pursuing a second-story garage loft for his own home.After the continuance was granted, Kingston and Vital asked for the commission to dismiss the claim on procedural grounds.First, they argued that the case should be dismissed because neither the anonymous complainant nor a representative from the City Auditor’s office attended Tuesday’s meeting. The chapter of the city code that governs the Code of Ethics gives those charged in a complaint the right of cross-examination -- a right that would be violated in the absence of another party, they said.“With the auditor not here, it appears as if the complainant is not pursuing the complaint,” Kingston said.Kingston, a lawyer, also reiterated claims made at a preliminary panel in mid-April, arguing that because the request was made anonymously, he had no way to verify that the complaint was made by someone with standing, such as a Dallas resident or someone doing business with the city.  Continue reading...

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