Councilmember Randy Burkett is responding to an upcoming story by KAMR news anchor, Kelly James.
According to reports, James is preparing to report on a possible conflict of interest by Councilmember Burkett, regarding the Councilmember's company leasing billboards to the Convention and Visitors' Council. We reached out to Burkett to ask for his response to the story.
Here is what Councilmember Burkett said:
"Apparently Kelly James at KAMR is at it again. His story is trying to make it sound like I have a conflict by being on City Council and renting billboards to CVC. I cleared any possible conflict with the City Attorney, Marcus Norris before I took my seat. See the attached Legal Opinion. There is no conflict and there never has been a conflict yet Mr. James continues to want to make a story out of this. I was appointed to sit on the LGC and CVC Boards to replace the unexpired term of Lilia Escajeda who I replaced on City Council. Once her term expired, Elisha Demerson took my place on the CVC board.
He also says I should not approve the CVC budget as a former Board Member or as a sitting City Councilman. I simply disagree with him. I have a job to approve all budgets at the City of Amarillo and that is what I will continue to do. Although I will not argue there has been serious conflicts of interest with certain boards like the AEDC and LGC prior to me being elected, this council has made it a point to weed out board members on both these boards that we felt have obvious conflicts of interest.
As to his statement of me having a conflict in voting on the East Gateway TIRZ board. I certainly do not have any conflict with this TIRZ. Yes I know many of the landowners inside this TIRZ but that comes from years and years of doing business in Amarillo. I do know all the stakeholders in the East Gateway TIRZ like the Lee brothers, George Chapman, Greg Mitchell and Dipak Patel. I have done billboard business with all of them over my career in outdoor advertising. That certainly does not constitute a conflict of interest. I do not own any land inside the TIRZ nor do I have any plans of acquiring land inside it. To state I have a conflict with this TIRZ and prior councilmembers not having conflicts with the Downtown TIRZ is just humorous.
I am starting to understand why KVII cut Kelly James loose years ago."