The City Council introduced the appointment Monday of council gadfly Joan Hodowanitz as a member of the newly revived Board of Ethics, and she immediately showed why.
Hodowanitz displayed a bent for full disclosure I’ve only rarely seen in my 35 years as a reporter.
After telling council members she was honored by the nomination, Hodowanitz said she had put her apartment in the former Samter’s building up for sale, but took it off the market because of the appointment.
The reason: she had hired Mayor Wayne Evans, who owns a real estate sales company, to sell it for her.
“I now have no contract or connection with the mayor just in case anybody’s wondering about that,” Hodowanitz said. “I don’t want there to be even a perceived conflict of interest. Personally, I have no problem cutting the mayor or anybody else off at the knees if the situation warranted.”
Hodowanitz said she read the city ethics code “three or four times in the last couple weeks.” (Imagine that!!)
“It was clear to me that I need to maintain arm’s length distance from all the city employees and officials so I have taken my apartment off the market and hopefully sometime next year, I’ll place it back on the market,” she said. “I also want to let you know that I know his (Evans’) father.”
Evans’ father, Carl Evans, attended her late sister’s wake in 1999.
“And about two years ago, he ran into me at Abe’s while I was having lunch,” Hodowanitz said. “I didn’t know that Carl Evans and Wayne Evans were related. You know, the Evans name, how was I to know? And he asked me if I could run down a picture for him that was taken of him in September of 1950 as he was deploying with the Army National Guard to go to Korea. And I found the picture in the library in the microfilm of the newspapers and went to the Times to get a nice, clear photo. So I did get that picture for his father.”
“That’s all the connection I have with the mayor and his family,” Hodowanitz told council members. “The rest of you I know but that’s as far as it goes. So rather than anybody saying that I would favor anybody, no. I will cut anybody’s knees off if I feel I’ve reason to do so.”
Sounds like a real public advocate to me.