To the editor:
The attorney general's opinion concerning Mayor Hack's involvement with Deciphera - a company in which she has over $5,000 invested - leaves a lot to be desired. Stopping with an "appearance of impropriety" determination leaves the answer to a very important question up for grabs: Did or did not Sue Hack improperly and illegally influence a community decision involving millions of dollars?
It is very hard to accept that someone who has as much experience in public office as Mayor Hack - six years on the City Commission and two terms as mayor - would "misunderstand" the conflict-of-interest rules. It is still harder to accept that, even if the relevant disclosure laws were not there, the mayor would fail to realize this was a touchy situation. She should not need the AG to tell her participation in the commission's closed-door, executive session where Deciphera was discussed, simply doesn't look right.
The lack of documentation is given by the attorney general's office as the problem with further action on the more serious aspects of the situation, but there seems to be an obvious way around that: Prosecute the technical violation of law that in fact did occur. Doing so brings a judicial process into play that is public, and involves sworn testimony by witnesses. This would give the taxpayers of Lawrence considerably more confidence that the mayor's "appearance of impropriety" was in fact only an appearance.