Mayor Gary Christenson told reporters he plans to file a formal ethics complaint against Councillor Neil Kinnon, accusing him of violating state law by misusing his position on the council to further the financial interests of the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School.
Kinnon suggested in an email to Malden Patch that the charges were politically motivated for his criticism of the mayor's plans to move city hall.
The charge surround a proposal to relocate the city's DPW yard and some other city services to the 2-acre Boston Steel site on Eastern Ave., which abuts the charter school. Kinnon is the chairman of the school's board of trustees, and was one of three councilors to vote against the proposal during a public properties committee meeting Tuesday night.
Christenson said Kinnon should have recused himself from that vote, as the development would likely affect the school's property value and financial interests.
He added that a representative from the charter school had also reportedly inquired “about the possibility of them acquiring the site” themselves, which he argued was a conflict of interest.
“He's the chairman of the board, his school has called to see whether or not they might be in the running to purchase the site,” Christenson told reporters. “That's a problem...I am a fan of the school...but a line has to be drawn at some point.”
Kinnon denied the charges.
“I have no financial interest in either Mystic Valley nor Boston Steel,” Kinnon wrote via email. “Mystic Valley has no financial interest and its Board of Trustees is not in the market to have anything to do with Boston Steel nor have they authorized any member to make offers etc.
“...Convenient when someone is opposing his plan to spend almost two times the going rate per acre, to purchase a property which is not big enough, to replace the four acre current City Yard and plop it into two of the most densely populated neighborhoods in Malden.”
Kinnon recently filed his own state-level complaint against the mayor's office, claiming Christenson engaged in real estate negotiations without the city council's approval.
Christenson said he "didn't think much" of the charge, saying his administration did not engage in any real estate negotiation.