Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A-Town Ethics Board to Rule on Mike Donovan Ethics Debacle Today

I spoke w/ Allentown Ethics Board Attorney Charles J. Fonzone yesterday at 5:48pm.

Attorney Fonzone admitted to me that he had no intention of returning my several phone messages (and emails) and that I had reached him via the dumb luck of him answering his own phone after hours.

We both chuckled when I said, "Attorney Fonzone, if I were you, I wouldn't have called
me back either."

Attorney Fonzone then answered all my questions in what I thought was about as straight-forward a manner as was possible, considering that this
Allentown Ethics Board is a tad shall we say rusty on its practices, procedures, formats, agendas, etc., which Fonzone readily admitted.

Attorney Fonzone volunteered that he doesn't know
Michael Donovan and that he has no existing relationship w/ him. I told Fonzone that I appreciated his sensitivity to my cronyism sensitivity, but that I hadn't asked him anything about a connection w/ Donovan.

My Excellent Questions and Attorney Fonzone's (Paraphrased) Answers

Q. Is Wednesday's meeting open to the public and will attendees be able to speak? A. It is open to the public and the Ethics Board is still considering allowing some limited input from the public. However, it wouldn't be for the purpose of evidence gathering, as the only relevant evidence here is Mr. Villa's complaint and Mr. Donovan's response, both of which have already been submitted and considered.

Q. What's the format and agenda for Wednesday's meeting. Will someone be leading/moderating the meeting? A. The Ethics Board will be delivering (reading aloud) its Written Advisory Opinion on this matter. Format, moderator, etc., has yet to be determined.

Q. Donovan was quoted on 69 News as saying he would "appeal and request a hearing if the Ethics Board ruled against him." Is there an appeal mechanism in the City's Ethics Board procedures? A. I don't see one there myself, but another lawyer may have a different interpretation. Once the Ethics Board renders its opinion, its work is done. So the question would be to whom would Mr. Donovan appeal?

Q. Has time expired for Donovan to request a hearing? I hope it hasn't because I've wanted to go one-on-one against Donovan in front of the Ethics Board all along, and if there's anything you can do to facilitate a hearing still happening I'd really appreciate that. A. I don't know the answer to this question.