The warning came following a letter dated Dec. 1, 2011, from Nicholasville resident John Martin to the ethics commission concerning the Westgate discussions.
Miller said “literally reading” of Martin’s letter did not constitute an official complaint or suffice as grounds to initiate an investigation. Martin wrote again to state that his letter was an official complaint, but by that time the ethics board already had decided to meet on the issue Dec. 19, 2011.
Martin’s letter also received a response from one of the ethics committee members. Tyler Johnson wrote him to explain why the ethics board did not feel there was a violation before the May 29 vote.
“We did not feel an actual ethics violation occurred in this case,” Johnson wrote. “However, we did feel that if the members involved had actually voted there could be a conflict of interest, which could be a violation of ethics.”
According to the city’s code of ethics manual, any city official who has “financial interest that may be affected by his or her participation, vote, decision or other action taken within the scope of his or her public duties shall disclose it (to the board of ethics)” and “have no participation, including abstention.”
Stemming from the hotly contested Westgate Subdivision development, there have been at least three letters from Versailles attorney Hank Graddy — representing residents of Heritage Estates, Hawthorne Estates and Lu-Carlton subdivisions and now co-counsel for R.J. Corman Real Estate, LLC.
The letters all offered varying degrees of detail regarding alleged conflicts. There have also been at least two letters mirroring Graddy’s allegations from attorney Elizabeth Darby, who represents R.J. Corman Real Estate, LLC. Both attorneys represent clients opposed to the Westgate Subdivision, currently under development by RCCB, LLC — an entity organized by Clay Corman.
The letters were hand-delivered during public meetings and allege planning commissioners Murphy, Collins and Fredrick have financial ties and may benefit by voting favorably regarding Clay Corman’s developments.
Murphy owns SGM Homes, LLC, which has purchased several lots in Lu-Carlton, built homes on them and then sold them.
“Murphy, either in the name of his business or individually, purchased the lots again — in some instances just a few months before he sold the lot and home to an individual homeowner,” the letter by Graddy to the planning commission states. “One result of this sale and purchase arrangement was that Murphy’s business did not have to hold, maintain, or pay property taxes on lots that were not selling during the difficult economic times. Instead, Clay Corman sat on the lots for him.”
The alleged links to Richard Collins have to do with his family and former business relationships with Clay Corman.
“One of the owners of the Westgate Subdivision property is Charles Collins — his name is reflected as one of the ‘C’s in RCCB, LLC,” Graddy’s allegation states.
Richard Collins is a cousin of Charles Collins and a director and vice president of the Citizens Bank of Jessamine County, Inc., along with Clay Corman, who was also a director. Richard Collins and Clay Corman were also co-directors of the following entities; Log Cabin Bankers, Inc. and Citizens National Bankshares, Inc..