Monday, October 28, 2013

Archibong ethics settlement raises more questions

Posted By and on Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Atlanta City Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong may have opened up a new can of worms when she agreed to a settlement with the city's Board of Ethics last month.

Archibong, who represents several southeast Atlanta neighborhoods, agreed to pay a $250 fine for acknowledging her failure to disclose $11,013 to HSI Systems & Consultants, a consulting firm that her brother, Warren Mosby, owns. His company received the cash between 2007 and 2008 after handling some of her constituency services. Elected city officials are required to note if a spouse, domestic partner, or family member might financially benefit from their work with the city.

The veteran councilwoman vowed to strengthen the city's ethics laws upon settling the claim. But in recent weeks, more questions have been raised after she told city Ethics Officer Nina Hickson that she used HSI as a "pass-through" company to pay Clifford Dill, owner of Dill Printing, for his services. The AJC's Katie Leslie explains it further:

But in response to the complaint, the councilwoman had an unusual defense: her brother made no money off the deal, she said, and instead was a conduit to pay for printing services from Clifford Dill, a client she then represented in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

"There was no benefit to a family member," said Archibong, who is a bankruptcy attorney. "When an outsider brought a complaint, I stood up and said, 'I don't agree anything was wrong, but if there's any appearance of it, what do I need to do to be accountable?'"

Stefan Turkheimer, an Atlanta-based attorney and Peach Pundit contributor, boils down the possible implications of Archibong's defense:

Archibong represented Dill. As his attorney she's required to certify the truthfulness of the bankruptcy documents including his income and assets. While she represented Dill she also represented Atlanta taxpayers. So while she signed off on papers that certified the amount of assets Dill had, she was making payments to him under the table.

Strange enough right? Well let's see what Dill owned. What debts were unsecured and and likely went unpaid as a result of the bankruptcy? Check out the Dill Statement of Financial Affairs[.]

Oh, good, nearly $2k owed to the City of Atlanta. So, if I understand this correctly, and please correct me if I don't, Archibong directed the City of Atlanta to pay her brother so that he could then pay someone she represented in bankruptcy court, and in so doing allowed her client to avoid the unsecured debt of the City of Atlanta.

Archibong recently told CL that there was no conflict of interest when she represented Dill as a bankruptcy attorney. She declined to go into specifics due to attorney-client privilege. But the councilwoman added she received "less than the $5,000 amount which would have triggered the need to disclose that I had a client who was also doing business with the city."

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