Ethics complaint filed against Morgantown City Councilor Mark Brazaitis

MORGANTOWN — Morgantown resident Michael Clifford said he’s filed a complaint with the West Virginia Ethics Commission focusing on whether City Councilor Mark Brazaitis used his WVU email account to coordinate city council campaign activities.

Brazaitis is an English professor at WVU. In August, the university removed him from the classroom for the fall semester and barred him from campus pending completion of an evaluation through the university’s Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP).

Brazaitis was the subject of an overnight search by the Morgantown Police and Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department after law enforcement was called to his residence on the evening of Aug. 6. Emails between Brazaitis and WVU officials indicate the incident was in response to an attempt to have him involuntarily committed for psychiatric evaluation.

In his complaint, Clifford provided emails that, he claims, show Brazaitis used his university email account to coordinate the ordering and placement of campaign signs, initiate the organization of a fundraiser, make requests of campaign volunteers, arrange an interview to promote his campaign, coordinate with a staff photographer for campaign purposes and reach out to the New York Times and USA Today about running an editorial that, in part, promoted his campaign.

Clifford, a local attorney, said he also reached out to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office about the possibility of campaign violations, but those issues were forwarded on the county prosecutor.

Lastly, Clifford said he’s considering legal action regarding comments made about him by one or more members of council to other local officials.

“It is my strong suggestion that a member or members of council save all messages, emails, social media correspondences and everything else in anticipation of likely litigation,” Clifford said. “I find it quite disturbing that a member or members of this council would choose to attack a member of the public because they chose to pursue an ethics complaint against another member of council. It is not right. It is not American and it is a violation of some of our most basic tenants of free speech.”

 

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