A four-member Aberdeen, Md., ethics panel has decided that Mayor Michael Bennett broke the city’s ethics code when he made an Oct. 3 Augusta visit on behalf of Ripken Baseball.
“It’s the opinion of this commission that Mayor Bennett did not willfully violate the Aberdeen Code of Ethics, but because of a series of imprudent actions and failure to think through the implications of these actions, violations did occur,” a Nov. 1 report from the panel states.
The commission wrote that Bennett failed to disclose in advance a potential conflict of interest and used the prestige of his office for the private gain of another, but that Ripken’s paying for his travel to Augusta did not constitute an unpermitted gift.
The panel admonished Bennett but offered no other sanction for the violations.
During his visit with Augusta Rotarians, Bennett defended his city’s 2002 decision to build a new stadium for the Ripken-owned Aberdeen Ironbirds. Ripken is seeking Augusta’s participation in financing a new stadium for the Augusta GreenJackets.
The ethics complaint was filed by Patrick McGrady, a candidate opposing Bennett for the mayor’s post in Tuesday’s general election.