CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - An attorney for Liz Rogers, owner of the troubled Mahogany's, filed an ethics complaint against Councilman Chris Smitherman on Monday.
Mahogany's attorney Robert Croskery says he learned that Councilman Smitherman's brother, Al Smitherman, a concrete worker with Josten Construction Company, approached Rogers about receiving the contract to do the build-out interior of Mahogany's a couple of weeks before the City of Cincinnati Council met to determine whether city money would be used to fund a $300,000 loan to Rogers to bring to bring a restaurant to Cincinnati for renovation of the riverfront area.
According to the complaint, Rogers investigated and found that Josten was primarily a concrete contractor, and it had recently had a major concrete collapse on a construction collapse on a construction project. Rogers declined to use Councilman Smitherman's brother's company for the build out of Mahogany's.
Croskery claims if Councilman Smitherman knew of his brother's solicitation of the project, it would have been his duty to recuse himself from any action concerning the loan.
However, Croskery says he received information that a meeting on the subject took place in a local restaurant in which the potential involvement of Al Smitherman's company in building out the restaurant was discussed.
Because of Councilman's position as a leader of the NAACP, it strains credulity to believe that he was not "in the loop" on this matter, according to the complaint.
Croskery says that Councilman Smitherman's clear duty, under Section 102.03 of the Ohio Revised Code and various ethics opinions, was to recuse himself from the decisions regarding Mahogany's from that point forward. But, he voted against the loan to Rogers and has spoken out against the loan on numerous occasions.
There has been no word yet from the Councilman Smitherman.