Ethics complaint filed against Milledgeville mayor

A woman filed an ethics complaint against Mayor Thrower for a potential conflict of interest in a tie-breaking vote / Brittany Collins (WGXA)

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. -- A Milledgeville resident filed an ethics complaint against Mayor Gary Thrower for what she called a conflict of interest.

Virginia Knapp told the Milledgeville Ethics Committee that she believes Thrower violated the Conflict of Interest Act when approving for a property on Washington Street to be re-zoned and turned into sorority houses.

Thrower owns property near the homes and Knapp thinks he's benefiting from that vote.

"The tax would be beneficial with city taxes," Knapp said. "The property values is going to go up based on purchase prices. The more rental income potential."

Thrower said that has nothing to do with why he broke the tie and approved the re-zoning.

"I don't have a significant interest with the property I was voting on so in my view there was no reason to disclose," Thrower said.

Knapp still doesn't believe that is fair because the city's ordinance states that Thrower has a requirement for a written notification of his ownership of the property that could be impacted as a result of his vote. And that he should have abstained from any discussion or vote.

"He's got property over there," Knapp said. "Should he not vote on it? The property is, there's only one house in between where the vote took place."

Thrower said despite him owning property in the area, it's still important for those homes to be renovated.

"They have a lot of historic tradition and significance to our community," Thrower said. "What has been happening is that we can't afford to have people live downtown because it's a maintenance nightmare."

The next hearing should be set next month. Knapp said she hopes the ethics committee looks into the issue for future votes.

Thrower said he stands strong in his belief about not thinking the property he voted on would impact his.

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