Ethics issues: Kyle council members make cross accusations

An allegation of potential conflicts of interest surrounding a Kyle City Council member was dismissed after it was discovered items purchased by the city from his business did not require city council action or procurement process.

According to an opinion issued by Kyle City Attorney Frank Garza, the city can continue to do business with Mitchell Motorsports (MMS) as long as the owner, Kyle Place 1 City Council member Travis Mitchell, has no involvement “in any capacity with the city in such transactions.”

MMS, according to Garza’s opinion, has been doing business with the city since 2014. Mitchell informed Garza the purchases by the city were “minor.”

According to statistics Mitchell provided to Garza, roughly 54 transactions were conducted between the city and MMS in 2016, with gross profits surpassing $2,600 that year.

Mitchell told Garza most of the items Kyle purchases from MMS are because the business “is the only place in Kyle to have products needed by the city.”

“City management confirmed that because of the minimal cost of these purchases, they are not required to go through the city’s procurement processes nor does the purchases require City Council approval.” Frank Garza, Kyle city attorney

Garza added city officials are allowed to have transactions with the city, provided they follow Ethics Code requirements.

Those include not taking action as a councilperson regarding any contract or transaction with the city and not having communication with the city at that time.

In addition, if Kyle were to go through a procurement process with MMS, Mitchell would be required to recuse himself and disclose information.

“This section does not prohibit the contract or transaction from taking place as long as the official does not participate in any manner with the contract or transaction,” Garza said.

He also cannot use his position to “unfairly advance” private interests including his business and cannot attempt to secure any special consideration or treatment that’s lawfully available to other businesses.

Allegations against Mitchell were made by Kyle Place 6 council member Daphne Tenorio, who claimed he profited through his personal business while on the dais, according to a Feb. 21 letter from Chevo Pastrano, Jr., who is Tenorio’s attorney.

The letter was sent by Tenorio after Mitchell levied his own ethics violation claim.

The Hays Free Press reported in January Tenorio had purchased the Kyle Stallions basketball team. According to the letter from Pastrano, the purchase had not been finalized.

On Feb. 21, Kyle city leaders announced they had been working on a project called “Just Peachy,” which involved a sports complex possibly developed in partnership with sports teams, which included the Kyle Stallions.

Tenorio recused herself prior to that discussion. Tenorio did not offer comment on the city attorney’s opinion.

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