New pot dispensary generates ethics questions

Posted at 8:18 PM, Feb 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-12 22:18:57-05

A watchdog group has launched an ethics complaint against the city of Glendale’s mayor regarding a new dispensary owned by his wife.

Colorado Ethic Watch claims the mayor had a financial interest when he cast the vote.

According to the city council minutes taken at the meeting on Feb. of 2015, Mayor Mike Dunafon originally recused himself from the vote concerning granting the approval to open the Smokin' Gun Apothecary next to Shotgun Willie’s, a strip club also owned by the mayor’s wife.

However, after a tie vote of 3-3, city code mandates the mayor cast the deciding vote. Ultimately, he voted to approve the new business.

“The mayor was right in the first place to recuse... and then to un-recuse to cast the final vote is completely wrong,” said Luis Toro, director at Colorado Ethics Watch.

He said the group found out about the vote after an anonymous tip.

“It’s the mayor casting the deciding vote in favor of his own financial interest,” he said.

However, according to the city attorney and Debbie Dunafon, she and the mayor weren’t married until July 2015, months after the vote.

"The question is that he didn’t have an actual conflict under our code which is a financial conflict,” said Chuck Line, deputy city manager for the city of Glendale.

Debbie Dunafon said the two were together at the time, but doesn’t believe their relationship made a difference in the vote.

“If you read the Glendale city code, it’s perfectly within their zoning -- it wouldn’t have mattered,” she said.

The City of Glendale is a home rule city and abides by its own ethics rules, and not the state’s.

Members of the Glendale City Council will review the complaint in an upcoming meeting, possibly next month. 


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