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Foust ethics investigation opens

 

A state ethics commission has opened an investigation into allegations filed recently against Redwood City council member Rosanne Foust over her refusal to recuse herself from council discussions regarding the Cargill Saltworks project while also working as the chief executive officer for a business association that endorsed the project.

The controversy centers on Ms. Foust's employment as chief executive of the San Mateo County Economic Development Association. However, she does not sit on the SAMCEDA board, which she has said was solely responsible for the endorsement.

Ms. Foust sounded confident that the Fair Political Practices Commission would rule in her favor, saying she did not believe she had violated the rules after consulting with the Redwood City attorney's office.

Menlo Park council member Andy Cohen filed the sworn complaint in June. A letter dated July 1 from Fair Political Practices Commission Executive Director Roman Porter stated the commission will investigate the allegations, but has not yet determined that the allegations are valid or that Ms. Foust is culpable.

"Even the appearance of a conflict is what I was taught should warrant recusal," said Mr. Cohen. "Here Ms. Foust has acknowledged SAMCEDA's advocacy for the project, so her attempted disclaimer based on not having participated in SAMCEDA's deliberations would appear to me to move any involvement as a council member beyond mere appearance of conflict."

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