In a ruling released Monday, the commission dismissed a complaint filed by borough Mayor Jerome Selby. The complaint alleged Stephens, an attorney, failed to follow financial disclosure rules when accepting payment for a case in which he represented a client fighting the Kodiak Island Borough in court.
Stephens said by phone on Monday that his next step is to follow the advice he would give a legal client in the same position. “What I would tell that person is … to go away and come back in a few weeks or maybe a month,” he said. “It’s never good to make a decision about litigation when your emotions are running high.”
Stephens appeared before the public offices commission in person in Anchorage on April 1. Arguing on behalf of the Mayor’s complaint was borough attorney Cheryl Brooking.
In the complaint, Selby alleged Stephens failed to disclose his client’s payments in his 2011 financial report. Stephens replied that the payments were made after the start of the new year, outside the time period covered by the report.
The Mayor’s complaint also alleged Stephens had a conflict of interest by representing the client even after he was elected to the borough assembly. The commission declined to address the second allegation.
In regards to the first allegation, the commission sided with Stephens, writing, “On this point, the Commission finds that Respondent did not actually or constructively receive any income from the lawsuit in question during the 2011 and 2012 reporting years. Accordingly, Respondent did not violate AS 39.50 by failing to report income on his POFD reports. Therefore, the complaint is dismissed.”
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