Multnomah County Commissioner Maria Rojo de Steffey plans to argue state ethics investigators got it wrong when they made preliminary allegations of two conflict-of-interest violations, her lawyer said yesterday.
The Oregon Government Standards and Practices board will hear her arguments at its Friday meeting.
The investigation knocked de Steffey for allegedly failing to announce that her husband works for a development company interested in a piece of surplus county property Rojo de Steffey was leading efforts to sell.
But lawyer Chip Lazenby says Rojo de Steffey's technical role in the matter made it impossible for her to give her husband's company an advantage over any other interested in the property.
Thus, he says, there was no potential conflict.
“They're looking at the statute in a broad and imprecise way,” Lazenby says. “It casts aspersion without anything underlying it."
Rojo de Steffey vehemently denies taking any action to give her husband's company an advantage.