City Hall

Dallas Council Candidate Sam Merten Faces Ethics Complaint Over $10k from Mayor

Last week, we reported District 9 City Council candidate Sam Merten's response to allegations that a $10,000 payment he received from Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings in May 2014 was improper. Merten told Unfair Park that the $10k was payment for work he'd done on behalf of the DISD home rule petition effort.

"[After the Dallas school district's home rule commission was convened] the mayor decided to, basically, pay me for all the work I'd done on the home rule initiative because that was not a city of Dallas initiative, but something that he'd asked me to participate in," Merten said.

Monday, an official ethics complaint was filed against Merten at City Hall. The complaint seems to follow the logic of many of those on social media who've complained about the payment. Merten was a salaried, exempt city employee, so it would have been impossible for him to be off the clock.

The complaint also includes a screenshot of Merten's initial response to the allegations -- comments that he's now deleted from a Facebook thread.

"It wasn't outside employment. It was additional compensation for my work with the city that Mayor Rawlings decided to provide," Merten said. "The payment is completely ethical, Julie. Mayor Rawlings wanted to give me a bonus for the extra hours I was putting in at City Hall, and rather than charging the taxpayers, he paid it out of his campaign account."

Merten Ethics Complaint

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young

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