Denver official to face further disciplinary action after board ruled he used position for personal gain – 9News.com KUSA

Posted: February 21, 2020 at 12:43 pm


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DENVER, Colorado

A top Denver building official may face more sanctions after the Denver Board of Ethics found he broke the rules on multiple fronts.

The board found Scott Prisco, the engineer, architect director and building official for the City and County of Denver, used his position to lean on inspectors, as well as used city resources to work on his wifes private business.

Laura Swartz, communications director for Community Planning and Development, said the division has a great deal of respect for the Board of Ethics and would look into following their recommendation.

Prohibiting Mr. Prisco from engaging in private business with Hip Homes was not enough of a consequence," Swartz said. "Community Planning and Development intends to follow their recommendation to consider additional disciplinary steps consistent with those outlined in the career service rules."

Jane Feldman, a member of the Denver Ethics Board, said she was disappointed by the initial actions of the Community Planning and Development in response to their findings.

I think that I was somewhat disappointed, Feldman said. We dont know what will happen, if anything will happen, and the initial response from the city was to say that it was just a lapse in judgement and I think that the board of ethics thinks that it was...much more serious than his supervisor at least immediately seemed to have.

RELATED: Denver Ethics Board disappointed by citys punishment for unethical official

RELATED: Denver Ethics Board rules city building official used position to help personal business

The board registered their displeasure with the punishment earlier this month. Prisco kept his job, but will not be allowed to be involved with Hip Homes or have an outside business.

Prisco also runs Hip Homes LLC with his wife, Jeanne Prisco. The company builds sustainable homes in Denver.

In January, the Denver Ethics Board said Scott Prisco used public office for private gain. Data obtained by 9Wants to Know shows his project moved through the permitting process within his purview only slightly faster than the median for residential homes.

Concerns about Scott Priscos unethical actions highlighted gaps in the Denver Ethics Boards ability to assure the the city and countys employees are acting properly. The board cant punish employees they find to be unethical. Its up to their boss to choose the punishment.

Denver Auditor Tim O'Brien released a report Thursday outlining numerous areas where he said the Denver Ethics Board needs improvement.

If the Ethics Board had the kind of authority that were talking about this morning, then they could have taken some action, OBrien said.

Three of the prominent changes the auditor called for included:

The Board of Ethics has until Oct. 30, 2020 to implement the recommendations. OBrien said some of the asks mirror improvements previously covered in a 2010 audit. The auditor said the City Council did not put those into law then, but hopes it will gain momentum now.

If nothing was done, that would worry me, OBrien said. That would be troubling to me that we would put this kind of effort forth and nothing happened. Well, I think the ethics board and the executive director was clear about their commitment to at least do something about it.

The Board of Ethics agreed with almost every recommendation made by the audit. Feldman said installing these improvements would be beneficial, especially because its frustrating to not be able to pursue anonymous complaints.

It may be someone that just has a personal dispute with the boss, but we dont know and we would like the ability to be able to investigate that, and see if there is any basis for those complaints, she said.

> Read the full audit of the Denver Board of Ethicshere.

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February 21st, 2020 at 12:43 pm