Mayor denies knowing he violated ethics law

  • Follow Metro

AIKEN --- New Ellenton Mayor Vernon Dunbar said Tuesday he did not know he was violating ethics laws when he did not recuse himself from conversations about the city transferring its general fund to a bank where his wife is employed.

"I did not realize that because my spouse is an employee of Security Federal that I have an economic interest in the bank," he said in a statement.

Last week, the State Ethics Commission found that the mayor had violated state ethics laws "by knowingly using his official position to obtain an economic interest for a business with which he is associated when he transferred New Ellenton's general fund from the First Citizens Bank to the Security Federal bank, his spouse's employer and a business with which he is associated."

The commission issued a written warning to the mayor and ordered him to pay an administrative fee of $100 within 30 days.

The complaint to the ethics commission was filed May 28 by Richard Brancato, who was elected in March to the city's water commission.

The city funds were switched to a new bank in May 2006, soon after Mr. Dunbar took office, and the change was made public after the fact.

The ethics commission notes in its records that the minutes of the June 19, 2006, city council meeting reflect no formal vote or objection to the transfer.

Mr. Dunbar pointed out in his statement that the council was in full agreement and that the decision to switch banks was made during budget work sessions.

"The move from First Citizens to Security Federal was made for internal reasons," he said. "These reasons were not made public at that time because of the sensitive nature of the issues."

In his statement to the ethics commission, Mr. Dunbar said excessive bank charges, confidentiality issues and poor customer service were among the factors in the decision.

He said the move to Security Federal, a local bank, "was done for the betterment of the city, and in no way did I nor my spouse obtain an economic interest from this transaction."

On another issue, a judge has ruled that the city's August 2005 annexation of the Three Runs Plantation subdivision was improper, city Councilman Gene Smith said.

The judge has removed the subdivision, which is 3.5 miles east of the city, from the city's tax rolls, he said.

Mr. Smith said the city is waiting on the judge to make the ruling official by signing an agreement between the subdivisions's developer and the city.

Reach Michelle Guffey at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or michelle.guffey@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (5) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
426Hemi
0
Points
426Hemi 10/01/08 - 07:44 am
0
0
"The move from First Citizens

"The move from First Citizens to Security Federal was made for internal reasons," he said. "These reasons were not made public at that time because of the sensitive nature of the issues." MEANING: a. the internal reason was that his wife worked "internally" at the bank and, b. The reason it was not made public because a conflict of interest is certainly a sensitive issue. He knew EXACTLY what he was doing, and the council was more likely than not, unaware his wife was employed at the same bank. Ironic, that a mayor "didn't know" this was a violation.

KingJames
10
Points
KingJames 10/01/08 - 08:14 am
0
0
"In his statement to the

"In his statement to the ethics commission, Mr. Dunbar said excessive bank charges, confidentiality issues and poor customer service were among the factors in the decision."

Reading is fundamental!!!

getjustice
0
Points
getjustice 10/01/08 - 04:00 pm
0
0
This is exactly what the

This is exactly what the mayor does. Every time he is in a hot spot he claims he does not know, did not know, could not know. What is doing as a Mayor? Does anyone including the Mayor know anything in that city? How does the county let him get away with what he does. I think the city council should be accountable for some of these issues since they just let him do as he wishes and never asked a question. They are just as much at fault as the Mayor and all of them should be removed.
Here we go again with another White Pond road ticket stop. When will this STOP!? We need help from the STATE NOW!

Just me 2
0
Points
Just me 2 10/02/08 - 09:43 pm
0
0
I have you know that First

I have you know that First Citizens Bank is a great bank. I have seen that they try very hard to help their customers and be as
fair as any bank that I have ever been involved with. As far the customer service, the employees there try their best. The only problem that I have seen with this bank is they need more tellers in the branches.

426Hemi
0
Points
426Hemi 10/03/08 - 07:22 am
0
0
KJ, Stupidity and Ignorance

KJ, Stupidity and Ignorance are as fundamental as reading. The PERPETRATOR here is the individual making the comment that excessive bank charges, confidentiality issues and poor customer service were among the factors in the decision. Uh, huh. Just like it for you to placate yourdelf in the fact that a brother is toast-again. That's likening the burglar who has a pocket full of rings stating that I'm just taking them out to be polished. Sure you are. KJ, you and your kin (brothers, homies, whatever you call 'em) are a bunch of ignorant one-way jackoffs. No bro can do no ro (wrong.) Yeah, reading is fundamental, and so is thinking and analyzing, both of which have escaped your genes.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs