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West Lake Council orders investigation, goes silent on ethics case

Friday, July 11, 2014 by Kara Nuzback

est Lake Hills City Council took no action on ethics charges against former City Planner Davin Fillpot at its Thursday meeting. Instead, Mayor Dave Claunch said, the Council would have no more public discussion about the case.

Attorney and West Lake Hills resident Chris Gunter filed an official complaint with the city in June, accusing Fillpot, now a private architect, of acting unethically by taking on Keller Capital as a client while he was still employed by the city. Keller is proposing a subdivision of 806 Rosebud Trail; Gunter lives next door.

In his complaint, Gunter said Fillpot’s affiliation with Keller Capital is a violation of the city’s code of ethics. At a June 25 Council meeting, Gunter argued Keller should not be allowed any variances to develop the property because of their involvement in Fillpot’s alleged misconduct.

After a one-hour closed-door discussion about the case, Council reconvened. Claunch said attorney Herb Prouty and City Administrator Robert Wood are conducting an investigation into Gunter’s complaint, and a written report is due to council at its Aug. 13 meeting.

City Attorney Alan Bojorquez said he spoke with officials at the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, which is conducting its own investigation into Gunter’s accusations. He said the unit requested Council not disclose any records generated by the city during the investigation and refrain from making any decisions, reasoning or discussions about Fillpot’s case public.

The DA’s office said the city’s publicizing documents and discussions about the case could compromise the Public Integrity Unit’s investigation, Bojorquez said.

Claunch said, “I respect the request, but I’m frustrated by it.” He then opened the floor to public comment, although a public hearing was not on the meeting’s agenda. Gunter was the only member of the public to speak.

“It’s not fair to not post this as a public hearing, then spring it on us like this,” he said.

After the meeting, Gunter said he understood why the city took no action, but, he said, “ultimately, they have to.” He added Council should not take any action until Prouty and Wood’s report is made public.

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