Ethics commission looks at trip by Eagle officials who admitted Sunshine Law violation

From the Vail Daily:  The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission will investigate a trip to Florida made by two members of the Eagle Town Board last fall to determine if their actions violated Amendment 41 of the state Constitution.

On Friday, the commission deemed complaints filed against Eagle Mayor Yuri Kostick and Eagle Town Board member Doug Seabury as “non-frivolous” and notified both men that the issues outlined in an official complaint filed by Mike Stevens, of Eagle, will be formally investigated.

The subject of investigation is a Oct. 29 through Nov. 1 Florida trip Kostick and Seabury took with Seabury’s business associate Scott Scholsser to meet with Alan Cohen. Cohen is the owner and developer of the Haymeadow property in Eagle, a 660-acre parcel located just south of the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink. Haymeadow is approved for a 837-unit residential development. Scholsser is the newly designated local contact for the Haymeadow project.

Prior to the trip, the pair did not inform other town board members or town staff that they were headed to Florida to meet with Cohen. After news of the trip became public knowledge, the Eagle Town Board released a written statement on Nov. 17 addressing the issue, particularly because the $2,380 airfare cost represents a violation of Amendment 41. Amendment 41 prohibits town officials or staff from accepting gifts, including travel costs, in excess of $50.

Initially the town board said they would be paying the $2,380 as part of the December bills approval, but it reversed that decision after closer reading of Amendment 41. The board noted reimbursing Cohen for the costs associated with the trip would violate the Independent Ethics Commission Position Statement on travel and travel reimbursement. Kostick and Seabury subsequently said they would pay the airfare costs themselves, indicating they did so on Dec. 15.

As for other costs associated with the trip, Kostick and Seabury have said there were no other trip expenses because they stayed at a guest house on Cohen’s property, where they also dined during the stay.

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