Former Rome City Commissioner Wendy Davis has filed an ethics complaint against City Commissioner Criag McDaniel this week.
Davis said that, “The basic premise of the “Code of Ethics” for the City of Rome is that commissioners should not use their position with the city to advance their personal financial interests.”
The complaint comes from the fact that Commissioner McDaniel has a wide variety of real estate interests in Rome. Davis said, “As a commercial realtor, he makes a commission when properties he lists are bought or sold. Since he typically is not the property owner, these properties are not included in his annual personal financial statements. However, he makes a significant amount of money as a commercial realtor.
One property in particular demonstrates a clear conflict of interest: the former Relax Inn, 1204 Martha
Berry Blvd. He sold it for $900,000 in December of 2021, and he listed it for sale in October of 2020. A
conservative estimate of a 2.25% commission means that he made $20,250 on this one transaction.
At the Rome City Commission’s retreat in September of 2020, Commissioner McDaniel participated in
discussions about improvements along the Martha Berry Blvd corridor, including looking at using a Tax
Allocation District to encourage development.
Similarly, he participated in discussions of TAD financing options to encourage development in the
Martha Berry Blvd corridor at the October 28, 2020 Redevelopment Committee meeting, and he
advocated for corridor improvements.
In these discussions, he allegedly did not reveal that he was under contract to sell the property at 1204 Martha
Berry Blvd (at the time the Relax Inn). After a review of the minutes from the Redevelopment
Committee meetings and the City Commission meetings, Commissioner McDaniel doesn’t recuse himself
until October 25, 2021, when this and adjacent properties were up for rezoning.
This is the fourth ethics complaint filed this year and the third in the past two weeks against Rome City Commissioners.
Thus far, ethics complaints have been filed against Commissioners Mark Cochran, Mayor Sundai Stevenson, Bill Collins, and now Craig McDaniel.
The complaint aginst Cochran was cleared up earlier in the week.
Complaints against Stevenson said that she illegally held a notary license in Gordon County while living and serving as a Rome City Commissioner.
The complaint against Collins is that he did not recuse himself from a vote for the building of a new Rome Middle School since his wife serves on the City School Board.