February 18th, 2009

What’s Conflict of Interest Cubed? (Now With New Winners and Losers Update!)

by Philip Baruth

The dust-up between Jonathan Leopold and Andy Montroll has obscured much of the mayoral campaign at this point, but one thing we can all agree upon, regardless of party: when the Board of Finance meets this afternoon to consider Leopold’s charge that Montroll’s work for Valley Net constitutes a conflict of interest, Montroll will be judged by a highly impartial body, given that the five-member Board of Finance currently includes the aforementioned Jonathan Leopold, his boss Bob Kiss, who happens to be Montroll’s Progressive opponent, and Kurt Wright, who happens to be Montroll’s hard-charging opponent on the Right. Now that’s what VDB calls a real working majority. Brilliant.

Late Update, Wednesday, 7:45 am:

Seems that the Board of Finance isn’t quite as tone-deaf as the symphony thus far might otherwise indicate: the five-member panel, made up primarily of Mayoral candidates, voted unanimously to delay discussion of the alleged conflict of interest.

Losers? Leopold and Kiss, especially given that John Briggs’s reporting on the story now contains this sequence: “Leopold initially criticized Montroll for not disclosing his work for Valley Net, but Montroll said he told Leopold of his work in May. Leopold later acknowledged that was true . . . ” And most everyone agrees that Leopold jumped for the Free Press hotline just a wee bit quicker than was seemly, with an election looming.

Winners? Montroll, who can and will claim that if Kiss and Leopold had a firm case they’d have made it yesterday. But Andy isn’t the only one whistling today: Kurt Wright made a smooth, implicit case to Montroll voters by defending his BOF colleague as “above reproach,” and Dan Smith will make Independent hay of the matter while the sun shines.

Generally speaking, Instant Runoff Voting cuts almost all ways, simultaneously and without mercy. That is all ye know, and all ye need to know.