Euille story illuminates need for ethics reform

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Euille story illuminates need for ethics reform
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To the editor:

Thank you for publishing “A statement from Bill Euille” relating to your February 15 article, “Former Mayor Euille was focus of FBI probe” due to a $260,000 check from a developer deposited into Euille’s personal account.

Euille broke his silence to confirm the payment and FBI investigation. He defends against allegations of wrongdoing on the grounds that the $260,000 payment was for a loan to bail him out of a personal financial crisis due to a partner who “absconded” with over $200,000 from Euille’s “personal bank line of credit.”

Putting aside the criminal implications of “absconding” with funds from someone else’s personal bank account – and Euille did not mention whether charges against the former partner were ever filed – we are still left with a large developer with substantial business interests before the city providing $260,000 to a “desperate” sitting mayor to bail him out of a personal financial crisis.

None of this was disclosed and the former mayor never recused himself from any of the developer’s interests before the city. Both should be the minimum ethical expectation, and the loan may have violated Virginia law under these circumstances.

This episode shows that the Alexandria ethics code is too lax. City Hall yawned at the story. Candidates in the upcoming Council election should be asked whether they consider such undisclosed personal loans as appropriate for a city official and how they plan to improve ethics to restore public trust and integrity.

-Frank Putzu, Alexandria

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