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Saturday, July 02, 2022

Ethics Board continues debate over complaint filed against Overture Center President

Madison's Ethics Board further debated a complaint Wednesday that Overture Center employee Davin Pickell filed, alleging unethical activity surrounding the city's buyout of the Overture Center.

Pickell registered an ethical complaint against Overture Center CEO and President Tom Carto. Pickell said he believes Carto is responsible for an e-mail another employee sent to the public, advocating preservation of the Overture Center when the company switched ownership last fall.

Pickell said Carto used city-owned equipment to advocate for ""personal convenience for profit.""

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One of the board member said the email was clearly intended to be advocacy.

Carto proposed to dismiss the complaint. He said Pickell had ""no personal knowledge with respect to any of the allegations that would lead to a potential violation of the ethics code.""

""I don't think it was potentially malicious, I think it was a violation of the code written as cited in the complaint and the city should be giving advice,"" Ethics Board Chair Michael Jacobs said.

Board members set a motion in place to further discuss the issue in the future.

Board members also revised an ordinance to establish regulations and procedure for a third party to pay for an incumbent's allowed expenses.

The issue was previously discussed after former alder Brenda Konkel filed a complaint about a biking trip Mayor Dave Cieslewicz took to Europe in April. She questioned how the trip will benefit the city of Madison.

Board members revised a section of the ordinance to clarify that the City Comptroller must first approve of the funds allocated before the incumbent can accept and use the money.

Taylor Harvey

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