Ethics Case Against Oakland Councilwoman Heads to Administrative Judge

A neutral arbitrator outside of the city will soon decide whether Oakland City Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney violated ethical standards by allegedly using city resources to block a townhouse development near her home.

The Oakland Public Ethics Commission voted unanimously Monday to send the ethics case before an administrative law judge. The vote follows a 2016 Alameda County Civil Grand Jury report alleging a violation of government ethics and conflict of interest rules on the part of McElhaney.

The embattled councilwoman has already spent $67,243 to defend herself from the charges, which include alleged acceptance of illegal gifts. “But she’s failed to raise that much money through her legal-defense fund to cover the costs,” East Bay Express reports.

As a result, McElhaney’s defense fund is deep in debt to her attorney, James Sutton of the Sutton Law Firm.

According to campaign finance records filed with the city yesterday, McElhaney was only able to raise $17,620 since October 2016. She set up the defense fund last year in anticipation of the Public Ethics Commission’s case.

Read more about the allegations against McElhaney and her mounting legal defense bills here


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