In March, Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath and Vice Mayor Waters sent a letter to the Arizona Bar Association with complaint of ethics violation to the Arizona Bar Association on Council Member Burns.
The letter is dated March 9, 2015. It is on Oro Valley "Office of the Mayor" letterhead. Mayor Hiremath and Vice Mayor Waters claim that Burns may have violated legal ethics when, at the request of the petition file, he reviewed the petition in January. The petition was for a referendum vote on the town's purchase of the El Conquistador Country Club.
"Our concern is that Council member Burns was very opposed to the legislative action that was passed. He voted against the legislation. Being a Council member, he had confidential information through Executive Session and may have given crucial information to the plaintiff to be used against the Town of Oro Valley in court proceedings. What is more disturbing is that Council member Brendan Burns did not volunteer this information willingly to neither all of Council, nor to the Town Attorney. It was discovered during cross examination of the plaintiff by the Town's attorney."In July, Oro Valley resident Paul Emmert queried both the Mayor and the Vice Mayor asking about whether the bar association had responded to them. In his email to them, Emmert wrote:
"I recall our meeting some months ago when I expressed concerns about you publicly advocating for Mr. Zinkin’s recall - I believed, and still believe today, that, as Mayor, you should “recuse” yourself from that process, and not choose sides. And again, we find ourselves with a somewhat similar situation with Mr. Burns - another attempt to disparage someone who disagrees with you on many important issues. Telling the Bar that you merely suspect something absent any concrete proof seems to speak to an ulterior motive."We asked Council Member Zinkin what he felt that the motive might be.
"This is not 'politics.' This is dysfunctional leadership. Why would the Mayor and Vice Mayor want to see Councilman Burns lose his law license? Why would the Mayor question the character of Burns, Garner, and Zinkin because they choose not to support the budget? This is the essence of poor leadership, divisiveness, and bullying"Neither Mayor Hiremath nor Vice Mayor Waters responded to Emmert. So, Emmert filed an information request with the town regarding all correspondence among these parties. He received the following response from Town Counsel Tobin Sidles:
"The “Town” did not file the complaint and the matter is solely in the hands of the Bar Counsel. Notifications are not being sent to the Town, but to the individuals. The best source of information on this is to direct any inquiries to the State Bar and State Bar Counsel. Please understand that any “review” or “investigation” by the Bar Counsel is deemed confidential up to a certain point. The Town is not aware that any investigation has been launched or whether anything was found not to be a violation, simply because the Town would not be notified of either course of action. Only the individuals involved would receive notifications from the Bar"This marks the second time Mayor Hiremath has gone after Burns. In July of 2014, Hiremath sent an email to Pima County Attorney LeWall stating that:
"An additional note to consider is that there are town employees who have severe concerns about th.eir safety given Councilmember Burn's increasing escalation of infractions of the law in addition to him having a military background. Safety is also a very large concern for me as well. I would like to discuss this further with you in person or via phone."That situation was settled both legally and emotionally long ago.
Mayor Hiremath, it seems, does not suffer lightly those with whom he does not agree.