Councilman at-large Michael Julian Bond has come under intense scrutiny for the first time in his 20-year political career after an ethics officer filed a formal complaint against him because of alleged dubious spending habits.
The son of famed civil rights activist Julian Bond is accused of using public tax dollars to subsidize personal expenses, most significantly a weeklong business trip to the nation’s Capitol that also happened to be the site of his high school family reunion.
Bond said he would cooperate fully with the investigation while declining to provide specifics.
“I contend and I believe that I have not violated any laws or policies or procedures of the city.”
Bond has until mid-September to respond to Ethics Officer Nina Hickson’s letter, in which she said she’s investigating other “potential violations” that could result in additional complaints.
Once he responds, Hickson could decide whether to dismiss the complaint or bring the matter to her board.
“I was elected to public office 20 years ago this year,” Bond said, adding this is the first ethics complaint against him. “I’ve never been through anything like this.”
Council President Ceasar Mitchell wants to upgrade the expenditures reporting process to avoid these types of ethics violations in the future.
“While every council office has the individual autonomy of a city department and every councilmember is independently elected, collective adherence to a set of standard policies and procedures related to the management of our expense accounts will bolster public confidence in our work,” he wrote.