Aide to Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller says ethics board broke rules

The communications director for Philadelphia City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller says the Philadelphia Board of Ethics violated a subpoena when it raided his City Hall office in May during its investigation into whether city equipment was being used for campaign activities.

On Friday, May 13, five days before the city’s primary election, the Ethics Board raided Miller’s Eighth District Council offices and seized equipment believed to have been used to create and distribute an endorsement letter for then candidate Verna Tyner.

Now Miller’s spokesman Michael Quintero Moore is arguing that the Board violated its subpoena when it took information from his office in room 317A. Only rooms 312 and 318 were listed on the document used for the pre-primary raid.

During its search of Miller’s office, enforcement agents used a subpoena to collect evidence from Moore’s computer, which he allegedly used to create materials supporting Tyner’s candidacy, including press releases, flyers and the endorsement letter.

Attorney Thomas Kenney, who is representing Moore, said that technicality could cost the Board.

“That lack of due process, which is required, was not satisfied. That would be a real problem for them,” said Kenney.

Nedda Massar, the Board’s deputy executive director, said the independent agency does not comment on such matters.

The subpoena does not list Moore’s office number specifically, but does list his name along with Miller and other staffers. The City’s code also requires that public employees cooperate with Board investigations.

In its notice of the alleged violations, the Board claims that Moore did not fulfill that stipulation when he allegedly deleted documents from his office computer.

Moore’s attorney is now requesting that “all allegations be dismissed and that no penalties be found and no penalties be levied” against Moore.

An Ethics Board hearing for the matter is scheduled for Dec. 13.

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