In a 5-3 vote, the Colorado Springs City Council dismissed an ethics complaint Tuesday against council President Richard Skorman, who was accused of abusing his position in city government.
The city’s five-member Independent Ethics Commission investigated the complaint and unanimously determined last month that a violation occurred.
The council — minus Skorman, who recused himself — made that decision public before dismissing the complaint. Despite the commission’s findings, the council majority said, Skorman did not seek special treatment as City Council president.
Councilmen Don Knight, Andy Pico and Tom Strand, however, voted to turn the issue over to an administrative law judge for further investigation.
Strand said the judge would find no violation took place. “And then in public, it would clear his name.”
Barbara Sutherland filed the complaint about a week after Skorman appeared at the scene of a March 21 car crash near West Cheyenne Road and Fenmoor Place.
Sutherland had been rear-ended by Madalyne Mykut, a close friend of Skorman’s. Both cars were damaged, but no one was injured. Mykut did not have a driver’s license.
Skorman asked Sutherland to exchange information with Mykut rather than call the police, the commission found.
In an attempt to vouch for Mykut and himself, Skorman identified himself as council president and gave his council business cards to Sutherland and her husband.
After interviewing Skorman, Sutherland and others, the commission found that Skorman violated the city’s code of ethics and that Sutherland felt Skorman had acted inappropriately, though that was not his intention.
“This was not an instance where Mr. Skorman premeditatedly sought to benefit from his position with the City,” the commission found. “Rather, he was frustrated at how the situation unfolded.”
Skorman later apologized for the interaction.
“Given all of the circumstances, we recommend that Mr. Skorman receive an oral reprimand for his actions in this instance,” the commission wrote.
Skorman reiterated his apology Tuesday. “I want to apologize to the Sutherlands and City of Colorado Springs,” he said in a statement. “My intent that day was to identify myself and not use my position on council for a special privilege. I appreciate my colleagues on council dismissing this complaint so we can move forward.”
But Sutherland said she remains “very, very disappointed.”
“I guess I was naive in that I was quite hopeful that something would come out of this,” she said. “Without a doubt, he was guilty.”
Sutherland said she’ll discuss the matter with her family and decide whether to pursue additional action.