Ethics charges filed against Washington County Attorney
WASHINGTON, Iowa (GTNS) – Washington County Supervisors Jack Seward Jr. and Bob Yoder, along with their personal attorney and former Washington County attorney, have filed an ethics complaint against Washington County Attorney Larry Brock.
The Washington Evening Journal’s website reported Monday afternoon about a letter Brock sent to the county supervisors July 17. In that letter, Brock wrote he had received information that he believes creates a conflict of interest between his office and two of the five supervisors. The letter also stated his office would not provide legal advice or opinions to the board of supervisors, nor would he attend any meetings where board members are present.
Supervisor and board chairman Ron Bennett explained what he knew of the situation during Tuesday morning’s weekly supervisors meeting. He said he sent an email to Brock to find out who the two supervisors are and what the conflict of interest is.
Bennett said, “And he said, ‘Jack Seward, Bob Yoder and Barbara Edmondson filed an ethical complaint against him, Larry, with the Attorney Disciplinary Board as a result of the criminal charges filed against Mr. Seward and Mr. Yoder for their alleged violation of the campaign ethics disclosure law.’”
“Obviously,” Bennett said, “we are working on this to see what we can do.”
County officials have talked to the Iowa State Auditor’s office, the Iowa Attorney General’s office and the Iowa State Association of Counties to see what the county should do.
Bennett said someone in the state auditor’s office said he has been in the office for 32 years and he’s never seen anything like this.
“That’s all I can tell you,” he said.
The Journal also contacted the Iowa Attorney General’s office and spoke to Eric Tabor. The Journal also emailed a copy of Brock’s letter to the state office to get more information about the situation.
Seward and Yoder both told the other supervisors and a room full of county officials, county employees and county residents they have no comment on the matter.
Danielle Pettit-Majewski, Public Health administrator, said her office contacts the county attorney for advice on human resources, contracts and policies. She wondered what she should do now.
Seward told her to call the supervisors and the supervisors would contact a lawyer to find out what she needs to know.
Kay Ciha, a former candidate for supervisor, said if Brock is unwilling to fulfill his job duties, his salary needs to be decreased. She wondered what the cost to the taxpayers will be if the county has to seek outside counsel.
Supervisor Stan Stoops wonders if the ethical complaint will be resolved in open court.
No one knew the answers to some of the questions. County Auditor Dan Widmer said, “Questions keep popping up.”