Former City Commissioner Kathy Carter has appealed a judge’s ruling that she violated the city’s ethics code by receiving preferential treatment from a former city manager.
Carter filed an appeal with the state Court of Appeals July 18 as well as a prehearing statement Aug. 3.
It’s an administrative matter, and the appeals court will hear arguments and review documents filed with the case, which dates back to 2010, to determine whether Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate issued a proper ruling when he upheld the ethics board’s decision.
In a June 21 order, Wingate found Carter “acted intentionally to receive unwarranted benefits” in her handling of a dispute over building inspections and a temporary certificate of occupancy signed by former City Manager Tony Massey for a rental duplex Carter owns on Hoge Avenue.
Massey was also found in violation of the city’s ethics code by the three-member board but did not appeal. He and Carter were penalized $1,000, and Massey was later fired without cause by the City Commission.
Donald Duff, Carter’s attorney, has called the ethics board’s decision “arbitrary and capricious.”
“It is a misapplication of the law to determine that the first action – complaining about mistreatment by enforcement employees – is unethical,” Duff wrote in his appeal to circuit court.
Duff could not be reached for comment.
William Ayer, the ethics board’s attorney, said Carter has a right to appeal but that Wingate’s order should stand. He will continue to represent the ethics board as the appeal moves through court.
“We believe, representing the ethics board, that Judge Wingate was correct in his decision, but as with any case, Commissioner Carter had the right to appeal to the Court of Appeals, and she’s exercised that right,” Ayer said.