For many in Jacksonville, the idea behind a conflict of interest may be difficult to completely comprehend. To them, it may not seem all that strange for a person's professional and personal lives to mix. Yet issues related to conflicts of interests go well beyond that. They may include cases where one's obligation to another inhibits him or her from fulfilling his or her responsibilities to yet another party. Other examples may be less overt, such as one using his or her position or authority for gain while limiting access to competition for his or her competitors.
Such appears to be at the heart of a complaint made against a school board member in California. The man at the center of the complaint is already facing criminal charges due to alleged campaign money laundering that he participated in during his run to his current position. Now, a charter school network that he helped establish is alleging that he transferred $265,000 of its funds to a nonprofit organization that he also runs. A claim filed with state authorities also highlights a transaction of over $20,000 made to company that the man has acknowledged holding an ownership stake in. Thus far, representatives of the network have been unable to determine what services were received in exchange for these transactions.
Even if the question of the legality of these transactions was not present (given that it is not proven yet whether they were a payment for services), one may certainly wonder how much this man's position served to benefit those companies in doing business with the charter school network. Those who believe they have knowledge of similar suspect practices may want to work with an attorney to seek injunctive relief and hold those perpetrating them accountable.
Source: Los Angeles Times "See the documents in the Rodriguez conflict-of-interest complaint" Blume, Howard, Oct. 19, 2017