Convention Center Contract
9:22 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Deputy City Manager Pat DiGiovanni Opens Ethics Case Against Himself

San Antonio Deputy City Manager Pat DiGiovanni has opened an investigation into his own conduct after concerns were raised about a potential conflict of interest.

The city's ethics review board will look at the case, which stems from DiGiovanni's new employment with the non-profit Centro Partnership, whose goal is to revitalize the downtown San Antonio area, and his role at the city.

DiGiovanni was a part of the team that reviewed construction companies for a contract to expand the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

City council members ultimately picked the joint venture Hunt-Zachry.

The conflict of interest

The problem arises because David Zachry, the leader of Zachry Corporation, also sits on the board of Centro Partnership.

"Mr. DiGiovanni negotiated for a job with Centro," said DiGiovanni's attorney, Shawn Fitzpatrick. "He didn't link Centro's board members with their outside roles in other companies."

Fitzpatrick said there was never a discussion in the negotiation process about DiGiovanni's new job nor the convention center contract, but DiGiovanni initiated a request with the city's ethics review board in light of concerns that he violated city policy.

The ethics board will review the case, and a letter written by DiGiovanni and Fitzpatrick, to determine if the deputy city manager violated any ethics rules.

According to the city's ethics policy, any employee whose conduct would violate any ethics concern must recuse himself or immediately refrain from further participation in the matter.

As a general rule, it says, "to avoid the appearance and risk of impropriety, a city official or employee shall not take any official action that he or she knows is likely to affect [his] economic interests," or that of any business.

"We got the city's ethics review board to look at the issue and obviously we hope that it will determine there was no violation, but we're prepared to live with whatever its determination is," said Fitzpatrick.