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Lansing councilmember apologizes for alleged ethics violation

 Lansing city hall facade
Flickr - MI SHPO

Updated on June 28 at 10:29 a.m. ET

At the Lansing City Council's Monday meeting, a councilmember accused of unethical behavior apologized to the group. The council also urged the state legislature to fund the Moores Park Pool restoration.

At-Large Councilmember Jeffrey Brown, accused of violating the city’s ethics guidelines, said he’s willing to undergo additional training to make up for his actions.

A complaint from earlier this year alleged At-Large Councilmember Jeffrey Brown sought financial payments for constituents in exchange for his political support. Officials also claimed he overstepped his authority by directly requesting federal funding for local projects from Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin.

The city's ethics board referred to the complaint to the council and recommended additional training around federal funding requests.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Brown apologized for his actions.

“Please know that my mistakes have been unintentional," Brown said. "I take full accountability, and we'll go through any training that you, as a council body, believe would help me be more effective councilmember. I am at the full mercy of this council, and I am willing to follow any remedy that you see fit.”

Brown said he is willing to step down from his committee assignments if the council wants to pursue that option. Council members plan to take up the ethics complaint at a future meeting.

The council also voiced support for a proposal in the state legislature to help fund the restoration of the historic Moores Park Pool.

The J.H. Moores Memorial Natatorium is more than 100 years old and is known for its oval-shaped layout. It's the oldest surviving pool designed by Lansing engineer Wesley Bintz and one of a handful still standing.

The facility has been closed since 2019 due to repair needs.

Councilmembers voted unanimously Monday night to pass a resolution urging lawmakers to fund the restoration project. The Michigan Senate’s state budget bill has proposed allocating $6.2 million to rehabilitate the pool.

At-Large Councilmember Peter Spadafore thanked State Sen. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) for her work acquiring the funding. Anthony chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee involved in crafting the budget.

Spadafore said the investment would give the city some much needed recognition.

“For many, many years, we've been ignored by the state legislature, and it's about time Lansing got what's due," Spadafore said. "This contribution towards the preservation of Moores Park Pool is $6.2 million of that tab."

The legislature is currently finalizing the state budget and has set a self-imposed deadline of this Saturday to finish it.

Corrected: June 28, 2023 at 10:29 AM EDT
This story has been updated to fix a grammatical error in the headline.
Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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