Vacation of Denver mayor prompts complaint to ethics board

DENVER (AP) — A Denver woman has filed a complaint against Mayor Michael Hancock, who flew to visit family for Thanksgiving despite sending messages on social media and to city staff asking them to avoid travel.

The complaint filed by Tonia Wilson with the city’s Ethics Board said the mayor’s actions were unethical and showed him “abusing his office for his own benefit and for the benefit of his immediate family members,” KCNC-TV reported Wednesday.

“Mayor Michael Hancock is unfit for office,” Wilson said. “The mayor does not demonstrate the high levels of ethical conduct, honesty, integrity, nor accountability required of his position.”

The ethics board voted unanimously to seek a response from Hancock regarding Wilson’s complaint.

Hancock had traveled to meet his wife and daughter in Mississippi despite championing public health suggestions to avoid holiday travel.

“Stay home as much as you can,” Hancock tweeted about an hour before he boarded his flight. “Host virtual gatherings instead of in person dinners. Avoid travel if you can.”

Hancock later apologized for his actions and acknowledged he went against his own public guidance.

“As a public official, whose conduct is rightly scrutinized for the message it sends to others … I apologize to the residents of Denver who see my decision as conflicting with the guidance to stay at home for all but essential travel,” he tweeted.

Kristin Bronson, Denver’s city attorney, told KCNC-TV that the ethics complaint was based “on bad facts or bad assumptions,” but she declined to elaborate. She said Hancock’s office would cooperate with the ethics board.