CEO 84-76 -- August 9, 1984
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
ASSISTANT CITY ATTORNEY OWNING CONDOMINIUM LOCATED IN CITY REDEVELOPMENT AREA
To: Mr. Rafael E. Suarez-Rivas, Assistant City Attorney, City of Miami Beach
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were an assistant city attorney to purchase as a residence a condominium located within the community redevelopment area of the city, so long as he refrains from personally representing or advising the city redevelopment agency in connection with any action it may take with respect to the condominium development. CEO's 81-51 and 76-75 are referenced.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, an assistant city attorney, to purchase as a residence a condominium located within the community redevelopment area of the city?
Your question is answered in the negative, subject to the condition noted below.
In your letter of inquiry and in a telephone conversation with our staff, you have advised that you serve as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Miami Beach. You also have advised that occasionally the City Attorney's Office has represented the City's Redevelopment Agency, which is the City Commission, and that you have been involved in this representation. In addition, the Agency has obtained outside legal counsel on occasion.
You relate that you and your wife have purchased an option to buy a condominium as a residence in a private development of condominium residences intended to be built in the community redevelopment area of the City. Because the development is located in this area, the Redevelopment Agency as well as the City will be involved in the necessary zoning approvals and permits. You question whether your purchase of the option or the future purchase of the condominium would result in a prohibited conflict of interest.
In a previous opinion, CEO 81-51, we advised that a city building official could contract to purchase a condominium unit as a personal residence prior to the construction and completion of all building inspections, so long as he removed himself from personal involvement and decision-making in connection with the building department's regulation of the construction of his residence and the entire condominium development. Our conclusion was based on the view expressed in that opinion and in CEO 76-75 that a municipal employee should not be prohibited from building or purchasing his personal residence within the city which employs him.
Similarly, the developers of the condominium project here may be considered to be subject to the regulation of the City Redevelopment Agency. Therefore, we are of the opinion that you should refrain from personally representing or advising the Redevelopment Agency in connection with any action it may take with respect to the condominium development, in order to preclude any conflict of interest which might arise out of your interest in one of the units in the development.
Accordingly, subject to this restriction, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created by virtue of your purchase of an option to buy a condominium residence in the development or by virtue of your subsequent purchase of a unit in the development. We are unable to advise you whether your interest is subject to the disclosure requirement of Section 163.367(2), Florida Statutes, as that provision lies outside our jurisdiction. You may wish to contact the Attorney General for an opinion on this question.