Bangor Councilor Facing Ethics Probe Has History of Conflicts

By Acquisto, Alex | Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), January 9, 2018 | Go to article overview

Bangor Councilor Facing Ethics Probe Has History of Conflicts


Acquisto, Alex, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)


The Bangor City Council member who now is the target of an ethics investigation has a history of failing to disclose his financial entanglements, the Bangor Daily News has found.

The council voted Monday night 7-2 to direct the city's board of ethics to probe whether Cary Weston violated the city's conflict-of-interest rules last June. At that meeting, Weston voted to allocate city funds to a tourism group after failing to disclose his ongoing business connections to it.

"He should have disclosed this at the very beginning of the budget process, if not earlier," Bangor Mayor Ben Sprague said.

Councilor David Nealley, the only councilor aside from Weston to oppose an ethics investigation, rebuked the idea of involving the ethics committee.

"This is the most egregious thing I've seen in all my years on the council," Nealley said. "Basically, he came forward and honestly conceded to the mistake he made. What are we going to ask the ethics commission?"

This is first time in more than 20 years that the ethics board has been asked to launch a formal inquiry into a sitting councilor.

The city's code of ethics says, "No city councilor, board member or commission member shall, in such capacity, participate in the deliberation or vote, or otherwise take part in the decision-making process, on any agenda item before his or her collective body in which he or she or a member of his or her immediate family has a financial or special interest, other than an interest held by the public generally."

On June 26 Weston voted to allocate $60,000 to the Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau. Weston inaccurately said in a public meeting on July 27 that his company, Sutherland Weston Marketing Communications, was no longer receiving payments from the bureau for designing its website. The council voted -- with Weston recusing himself -- on that date to allocate more funds to the bureau. On Dec. 27, Weston said he had been mistaken and that his firm had indeed still been receiving payments.

"If there's any question, I think this clearly should be sent to the ethics committee," Councilor Dan Tremble said. "It just makes it cleaner. We're not involved in it."

It's not the first time that Weston has failed to disclose the full extent of his business dealings.

In a City Council budget workshop on May 10 and during a June 26 workshop, Weston championed a proposal for Bangor to start an airplane mechanic program that would benefit a local aircraft maintenance company, a client of his company's. During the May workshop, Weston also participated in discussions about the fiscal 2018 budget of another client, Bangor International Airport. He did not mention possible conflicts in either meeting. …

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