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Trzop blasts ethics board chair, alleges its members have conflicts of interest

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 — Pete Trzop — the Woodlawn Springs resident who recently filed an ethics complaint against planning commission member Mark Mathis — blasted the Ethics Board and its chair Monday in a caustic email that was also copied to local media outlets.

In the wake of the Ethics Board’s decision not to proceed further on his ethics complaint, Trzop said the decision showed that “the Ethics Law is proven to have basically zero investigative power, no subpoena power, and little to no consequences or desire to act, even if something is found.”

PETE TRZOP

In his email, Trzop alleges that the members of the board who found no conflict of interest in Mathis’ case have their own conflicts of interest. He does not specify which members have conflicts or explain the nature of those alleged conflicts.

“Once I read the signed letter, I became aware of why several board members could not find a conflict in this matter…given their own conflicts. I will leave it at that given nothing will happen nor does anyone in elected office cares (sic) enough to act.”

Trzop blasted Ethics Board chair Christy Bradford after he was told that she and Debi Mathis, Mark Mathis’ wife, were old acquaintances and spent time “catching up” prior to the start of the Ethics Board meeting.

” From an attorney, I would at least expect some semblance of neutrality and lack of over bias and prejudice. In short, you should have recused yourself or acted in a more professional manner given your duties.

“I wish I had people judging me who were friends and hugged me before rulings.”

Trzop also took issue with the board’s lack of action regarding his questions about Mathis’ ownership of Mago, and the discovery of two irrevocable trusts — one in Mathis’ name, the second in his father’s name — that also own part of Mago.

“The trusts alone prove significant, but no(sic) nothing was done about the omissions,” Trzop wrote in his email. “In short, the precedent is omissions even when found have no consequences.”

TRZOP’S COMPLAINT. Pete Trzop’s ethics complaint, dated Feb. 28, 2018, alleged that longtime planning commission member Mark Mathis had multiple conflicts of interest related to his ownership of paving and road construction companies, his business relationship with and past political support for former state Rep. Jodie Haydon, whose family members own the Woodlawn Springs golf course property.

In his complaint, Trzop alleges that Mathis’ ownership interest in Bardstown Asphalt Co. and MAGO Construction present a conflict of interest because his businesses work locally, and any local government road development, paving or construction projects represent possible sources of income by his companies.

The complaint stated that zoning changes that Mathis may approve might eventually lead to road construction projects that could involve one of his companies — including the zoning amendment for Woodlawn Springs. Such a situation would be a conflict of interest, the complaint alleges. Trzop also alleges that business transactions between firms owned by Mathis and Jodie Haydon — whose family members own the Woodlawn Springs Golf Course — would also present a possible conflict of interest for Mathis, the complaint alleged.

Trzop’s complaint further cited Mathis’ political donations to Jodie Haydon ($100 in 1998 to Haydon’s successful campaign for state representative, and $1,000 in 2009 for Haydon’s unsuccessful bid for the 14th District state senate seat) as possible conflicts of interest because Haydon’s family connection to the golf course property.

Mathis appeared before the Ethics Board for a preliminary inquiry on March 27, 2018, and refuted the allegations in Trzop’s complaint. At the board’s follow-up meeting on April 19, the board terminated its review of the complaint without further action.

Trzop did not appear at either Ethics Board meeting.

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