On Wednesday, before the Summit County Council sat down for their first discussion on the Dakota Pacific proposal, a Council Member announced that he needed to recuse himself.
Council Member Chris Robinson apologized, but said he came to the conclusion that he had to exclude himself from the item.
He said that he has known three of the Dakota principals for 20 years in circles related to politics, religion, the Olympics, philanthropy and late last year, the discussion of a possible business relationship.
“One day in February, one of the principals contacted me and said that they had up to six basketball tickets for a game the following night, and if I would have any interest. I was out of town on business. I said, I don’t, but maybe my kids would. And in the end, my kids wound up using the tickets, they and their significant others.”
Robinson said he has reimbursed the fair-market value of the tickets, but feels he is disqualified from considering the project.
“As I’ve contemplated that, I believe that the acceptance, while very well-intended--I believe in having nothing to do with the subject at hand—the offer and the acceptance of those tickets is prohibited under the state law that says that a gift cannot be received by a public official if, in the recent past, present or near future, the giver of the gift is going to be appearing before the elected official in a decision-making capacity.”
He added that for a project this important, the review needs to be transparent and forthright.
Jeff Gochnour, the manager for the Dakota project, said they supported Robinson’s decision.
“We acknowledge that there was an honest mistake made between two long-time friends. Our company’s integrity is of paramount importance to us. And we are taking action internally to make sure that our reputation is preserved. So we’re supportive of Council Member Robinson and regret that this event occurred.”
Jeff Gochnour from Dakota Pacific.