The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission denied a motion to dismiss a complaint against Erie Mayor Justin Brooks on Monday.
Erie resident Ryan Kenward, who was previously a candidate for the Erie Board of Trustees and Home Rule Charter Commission in 2022, filed an IEC complaint against Brooks earlier this year. The complaint was found to be nonfrivolous on March 21. In the complaint, Kenward claims that during a 2022 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board meeting, Brooks pressured the board to award money to Being Better Neighbors, a nonprofit where Brooks serves as president. Brooks was a trustee and the DEI liaison at the time.
Kenward previously stated in the initial complaint to the IEC that Brooks used his influence to have the DEI board vote to award the nonprofit. He also claims that Brooks’ actions violated C.R.S. 24-18-109, which sets rules of conduct for local government officials and employees.
In the IEC document denying the order to dismiss, the IEC states the commission is “constitutionally required to conduct an investigation on each nonfrivolous complaint it receives,” and also states motions submitted prior to the completion of IEC investigations are disfavored.
In a response filed by Erie Town Attorney Kendra Carberry, she stated the initial complaint did not specify which subsection of C.R.S. 24-18-109 Brooks was accused of violating. The motion to dismiss the complaint was included with Carberry’s response. The IEC stated Tuesday that the complaint is sufficient, and the “Complainant need not allege with particularity the subsection he believes Respondent violated.” The IEC document also states that whether Brooks violated C.R.S. 24-18-109 is an issue that needs to be properly addressed by a mandatory IEC investigation, either at a hearing or upon a motion for summary judgment.
Brooks will be able to request relief in an appropriate motion following an IEC investigation.
Kenward denied to comment Tuesday, but stated his previously published op-ed in the Camera accurately states his feelings.
Brooks and Carberry did not immediately respond to request for comment.
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