Wojcik facing new ethics complaint
Rochester City Council member Michael Wojcik appears to be facing a second ethics complaint as an earlier one is being investigated.
Rochester resident Mark Bransford says he filed a 12-page complaint with the city's Ethical Practices Board on Friday afternoon regarding Wojcik's support of the $115 million Alatus apartment project.
City attorney Terry Adkins was out of his office Friday afternoon and unavailable to confirm the complaint was received. Ethical Practices Board Chairwoman Audrey Ericksen said she hasn't seen the complaint.
Bransford said his complaint aims to detail reasons Wojcik should have recused himself from voting on a preliminary development plan for the Second Street Southwest project between 14th Avenue and 15th Avenue. The Sept. 19 plan was approved in a 4-3 vote.
"It had a huge swing effect," Bransford said of Wojcik's vote to move the project forward, noting a tie vote would have denied the project.
Bransford alleges Wojcik advocated for the project as early as 2013 by meeting with neighbors who were being approached about selling their homes. He says the support continued through a neighborhood meeting last May.
"In my complaint, I believe I prove that he clearly should have bowed out of any and all deliberations and vote for the Alatus project because he had been inappropriately involved in the solicitation of homeowners to sell their properties for both the Alatus development and future city projects at the northern end of the Folwell neighborhood," Bransford said.
Wojcik, who had not heard of the complaint prior to being contacted by the Post Bulletin, disputed such claims during the Sept. 19 council meeting.
"I have not publicly or privately expressed an opinion on the merit of this proposal," he said. "I have, however, had meetings with every person who has requested such a meeting."
At the time, Wojcik said he had researched past Ethical Practices Board opinions and felt confident he could participate in the discussion and vote. He also offered to request an Ethical Practices Board opinion, if asked.
Bransford said he's done his own research and feels Wojcik's decision to participate in the discussion and vote violates the city's code of ethics. If the Ethical Practices Board agrees, he said he plans to challenge the status of the Alatus project.
The Ethical Practices Board already is dealing with an unrelated complaint against Wojcik, which was filed by Bari Amadio, executive director of the Greater Rochester Arts and Cultural Trust, and alleges intimidation and libel in regard to the Public Arts Master Plan.
The board has asked for an outside investigation of that case and could discuss it as early as April 26.
The board also could address the new complaint at that meeting. At that point, it could choose to dismiss the complaint, seek further investigation or move it to a hearing.