Friday, January 10, 2014

No conflict for C4C city official

Posted By on Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 11:22 AM

The question has been raised about whether there's a conflict of interest for Bob Cope, the city's senior business climate specialist in the Economic Vitality Division.
Bob Cope: No conflict of interest. - COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Courtesy city of Colorado Springs
  • Bob Cope: No conflict of interest.

Cope, who's been deeply involved in the city's City for Champions project, is president and broker of Cope Commercial Realty, LLC, and has more than "30 years of commercial real estate experience providing property management and brokerage services from numerous shopping centers and office buildings," according to his "professional profile" provided to the Independent by the city.

When he was hired in 2008, he submitted a written notification of his business interest, per city policy, the city says in a written response to questions posed by the Indy.

City policy states:

No employee shall engage in any employment or activity, which creates a conflict of interest or appearance of conflict of interest with their duties as a City employee.

If an employee holds a second job in addition to the City position, the employee must immediately notify their Department Director or Council/Mayoral Appointee in writing. (In the case of the Police Department, approval by the Chief is required.) The employee shall consider the City position as primary and take appropriate steps to avoid jeopardizing the commitment to the primary position. The employee must ensure that the employment does not violate the City's Conflict of Interest Policy # 38 and that no relationship exists between the second employer or activity, and any inspections, supervision, or contracts which are part of the employee's normal job with the City. The second job or self-employment may not be conducted during working hours, in City Buildings, nor may supplies or equipment be used to conduct such business.
Just being a real estate broker might not seem like a conflict, but Cope holds an interest in downtown property, and City for Champions has been described as a way to bolster commerce in the downtown area.

C4C, as it's commonly called, was awarded $120.5 million over 30  years in state sales tax rebates on Dec. 16. The $250-million project calls for construction of four venues: a downtown sports events center, downtown Olympic museum, sports medicine center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and a new visitors center at the Air Force Academy.

Cope issued this statement in response to the Indy's inquiry:

My employment was fully disclosed upon my hiring in 2008. My wife and I manage two small properties which allows me to keep my Real Estate License active. I do not use any City resources or conduct any outside work on City time, and my business does not create a conflict of interest. I own a small percentage of a building on Tejon Street, however it is not a listing of mine nor do I provide any real estate brokerage services for this property.
Cope's professional profile also states: "Robert has been the City’s lead on several successful economic vitality initiatives including the Wal-Mart Corporate Data Center, Bal Seal medical manufacturing facility, Agilent Technologies expansion and the Mining Exchange Hotel redevelopment."

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