Feb 7, 2024 - News

Denver council member Flor Alvidrez's ethics probe deepens after closed-door meeting

Denver council member Flor Alvidrez sits on the dais of the City Council during a legislative meeting.

Denver City Council member Flor Alvidrez. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Scrutiny of first-term Denver City Council member Flor Alvidrez is mounting over allegations of financial mismanagement and mistreatment of staff.

What's happening: On Wednesday, the Denver Board of Ethics held a closed-door executive session and found that a complaint recently filed against Alvidrez by a former aide warrants further investigation.

  • The board has requested a formal response from her and, if given one, will consider it and any additional information brought forth in another private meeting scheduled for March 6, executive director Lori Weiser told Axios Denver.

Catch up quick: Alvidrez is under an ethics investigation for a complaint first reported by Denverite that details several instances of alleged violations of the city's Code of Ethics. Alleged behaviors include:

  • Requesting a reimbursement for an alcohol purchase at lunch;
  • Paying her ex-husband more than $4,000 from her office budget to build a float for a Halloween parade;
  • Using city funds on more than $300 in flight upgrades on a trip to Chile for the Biennial of the Americas.

Of note: The complaint also alleges instances in which Alvidrez yelled at or pushed back against staff who challenged her spending habits and attempted to uphold the city's fiscal policies.

  • All four of her council office aides have resigned since December, Denverite reports.

The other side: Alvidrez has publicly denied the allegations that she used her position in public office for personal gains, and agreed to righting any wrongs the investigation unearths.

What she's saying: In a statement Wednesday, Alvidrez told us she "will continue to participate openly and provide all necessary information to support a thorough and equitable examination," and that she is "confident that this review process will result in a favorable outcome."

  • Last month, she told the Denver Post that claims of yelling at staffers were "not true and news to me."

What's next: Weiser was unable to provide a timeline for the investigation. However, once the ethics board's probe is complete, Alvidrez will have the opportunity to request a public hearing.

The intrigue: Unlike most ethics boards, Denver's lacks authority to fine or formally penalize public officials, "a pain point" for board members, Weiser told us.

  • But it can recommend discipline to the "appointing authority" — which, in this case, is Denver voters, who could hypothetically remove her from office through a recall election.

What we're watching: Whether her colleagues on the council decide to impose a formal censure if she is found guilty of violating city policies, a process council members first adopted in 2018.

  • Council president Jamie Torres and council president pro-tem Amanda Sandoval did not immediately respond to Axios Denver's requests for comment.

Editor's note: This story was updated to include comments from Flor Alvidrez.

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