Decision still pending in the conflict-of-interest case
A hearing in the ethics case against Tallahassee’s Mayor, John Marks, began on Monday at the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings. Marks along with his attorney spent the day contesting ethics charges filed against him earlier this year for conflicts involving city vendors the Alliance for Digital Equity and Honeywell. Mayor Marks answers a question from his attorney Barry Richard. / Glenn Beil/Tallahassee Democrat
The chief advocate for the Florida Commission on Ethics said Tallahassee Mayor John Marks “turned a blind eye to a conflict he knew existed” before voting on matters involving Honeywell, a city vendor that also was a client of the mayor’s law firm at the time.
But Marks’ attorney, Barry Richard, said the mayor checked with City Attorney Jim English and Honeywell to see whether there was a conflict and was told there wasn’t one. He said the suggestion that Marks was “willfully blind” to conflicts of interest was “almost ludicrous.”
The arguments from Diane Guillemette, who acts as a prosecutor for the Ethics Commission, and Richard came Monday during Marks’ administrative hearing on five counts that he violated state ethics laws by voting on matters involving Honeywell and, separately, an Atlanta nonprofit that paid him as a member of its board of advisers.