In an unanticipated development during Friday morning’s Independent Ethics Commission hearing, John Cook, a lawyer who has represented LandCo’s Ray Marshall in multiple lawsuits filed by Colorado Springs investor Jack W. Mason, confirmed that Mayor Lionel Rivera had been Marshall’s financial adviser at UBS from 2005 to early 2008.
Cook came forward after attorney Lindsay Fischer, who represented complainant Ron Johnson during the hearing, asked the commission to use its subpoena powers to determine whether Rivera had been Marshall’s financial adviser, had profited from that relationship and had thereby breached City Council’s code of ethics by not revealing that fact.
Even after Cook’s revelations, Fischer continued to press the commissioners to exercise their subpoena powers.
“We don’t know whether these are all the accounts,” he said, “and only through a subpoena can we be certain.”
Commission member Malham Wakin, a retired Air Force Academy professor, said that the commission was not a prosecutorial body.
“We are a commission that reports to City Council,” he said. “We can only determine the facts to the best of our ability, and pass them on to City Council. After that, it’s up to council.”
After receiving documents from Cook that were apparently UBS account records, Wakin and commission member Stephen Hook agreed to ask Rivera to appear before them. It was not clear whether any such appearance would be in open or closed session. The documents were not made available to the public.
“I’ve served on a number of ethics commissions,” Wakin said, “and I’m not sure whether an open meeting is appropriate.”
The Ethics Commission will meet next week, although no date and time were set.
Johnson said that he was glad that the existence of the UBS accounts, which his complaint had been based upon, had been confirmed.
“It’s important to finally clear the air,” he said, “The city is going to have to ask a lot of its citizens in the future, and the people need to know just how decisions were made (in arriving at the original USOC deal).”
Cook said that Marshall had removed Rivera as an adviser on three accounts beginning in October 2007, although, he said “Mr. Rivera’s name was not actually removed from the account until December of 2007.” One was Marshall’s personal account, and Cook described the other two as “accounts in which Mr. Marshall had an interest.”
Cook also said that neither he nor Marshall had come forward with this information earlier because “nobody asked us.”
The “accounts in which Mr. Marshall had an interest” might be those referred to in a series of lawsuits filed by Mason against Marshall, LandCo, and multiple other corporate entities.
In a letter to Marshall dated May 23, 2008, Mason says that “The partial financial information I received demonstrated you committed serious fiduciary breaches by activities such as … using North County funds for securities trading leveraged through margin borrowing.”
These alleged activities took place during 2007, when Rivera served as Marshall’s financial adviser.
Mason’s original lawsuit against Marshall was settled during 2007, and account records that had been provided to the court were, at the request of Marshall, sealed. Those sealed accounts have been the object of much speculation, and were the basis of Johnson’s complaint to the Ethics Commission.
Mason again sued Marshall, alleging that he had failed to comply with the terms of the settlement.