4

Dallas City Council Member Philip Kingston Fails to Get Ethics Beef Dismissed

Philip Kingston, shown in an earlier photo, launched the effort to bring the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue before the Dallas City Council. Sandy Greyson, to his right, was the only council member to vote against it.EXPAND
Philip Kingston, shown in an earlier photo, launched the effort to bring the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue before the Dallas City Council. Sandy Greyson, to his right, was the only council member to vote against it.
Brian Maschino
^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

The good news for Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston is that he and his attorney are going to have more time to prepare their defense to an anonymous ethics complaint filed against the downtown and East Dallas representative filed earlier this year. That's thanks to an extension handed down Tuesday by Dallas' Ethics Advisory Commission.

The bad news for Kingston and his lawyer, Victor Vital, is that their fight is continuing at all.

Kingston is under fire because of a member of the public's complaint that he pushed the City Council to authorize garage-apartment rentals in the city while, at the same time, planning to build an apartment on he and his wife's garage in East Dallas.

Kingston's been a longtime proponent of garage apartments and helped pass an ordinance last summer allowing Dallas residents to apply to rent out a garage unit already built on their property. The complaint alleges that Kingston abused a second process — which ended with his subdivision loosening its accessory dwelling unit rules — so that he'd have an easier time renting out the apartment he intended to build, if he ever decided to do so.

While he's previously argued that his advocacy for the units doesn't violate city ethics rules because he was pushing for an ordinance he might benefit from, rather than one that would benefit him specifically.

Tuesday, his argument was procedural. The complaint against him shouldn't move forward, Kingston said, because he couldn't confront the person accusing him, either directly or through the complainant's proxy, the City Auditor's Office. Dallas City Code says that council members accused of violating ethics rules have a right to question those who brought the complaint against them in front of the board. 

"The evidence in front of you comes from witnesses — and if I can't cross-examine them ... I should at least have the opportunity to cross-examine the city auditor," Kingston said.

Ethics Commission members refused to dismiss the complaint but agreed that the city auditor should attend Kingston's next meeting with the board. If the board finds that he violated city ethics rules, it could recommend anything from an official reprimand to Kingston's removal from office. 

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.