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Rehoboth commissioner to recuse on Clear Space issues

Public Integrity Commission attorney responds to neighbor complaint
April 19, 2019

Story Location:
229 Rehoboth Avenue
Rehoboth Beach  Delaware  19971
United States

The attorney representing Delaware Public Integrity Commission has advised Rehoboth Beach Commissioner Lisa Schlosser to recuse herself from future votes related to Clear Space.

Mark Betchkal, a Rehoboth property owner whose house abuts a proposed Clear Space theater on Rehoboth Avenue, has voiced his opposition to the new theater since it was first proposed. He filed a complaint April 15 with the commission after he conducted a Freedom of Information Act request, asking city officials for emails from Rehoboth officials to Clear Space officials.

Those emails – beginning May 2018 and stretching through March 2019 – reveal regular correspondence between Schlosser, Mayor Paul Kuhns, Commissioner Pat Coluzzi, City Manager Sharon Lynn, Building Inspector Damalier Molina, City Solicitor Glenn Mandalas, Clear Space Executive Director Wesley Paulson and Clear Space Board of Directors Chair Carl Schloegel.

In an April 16 email to Betchkal, Deborah Moreau, PIC counsel, said she had recieved a hard copy of the complaint in the mail and been in touch with Mandalas, advising him that Schlosser should recuse herself from votes related to Clear Space.

Betchkal said Schlosser’s personal involvement assisting Clear Space in finding a new venue became one-sided and she lost sight of her duty to represent her voting constituents and the city’s interests.

“She became an ardent advocate for Clear Space and lost sight of her civic duties,” said Betchkal, in an email April 17.

In a statement April 18, Moreau said Betchkal said he did not intend to move forward with the complaint if Schlosser recused herself from the upcoming vote.

“I thought that the complainant’s objective was to avoid this kind of public conflict because they had asked that the complaint be withheld until after the April vote, indicating to me a thoughtful consideration of the facts and circumstances,” wrote Moreau. “Had I thought otherwise, I would have been more artful in my communications with the complainant.”

Schlosser did not respond to multiple requests for comments.

In an email April 18, Mandalas said Schlosser will be recusing on the Clear Space matter.  However, he said, it’s not because she perceives that there has been a violation of the State Code of Conduct. Mandalas said Schlosser specifically denies any such allegation.

Mandalas also said any legal advice to Schlosser would be protected by attorney-client privilege.