Advisory Opinion No. 99-91

Re: Dennis Webster

QUESTION PRESENTED

The petitioner, a member of the Jamestown Planning Commission, a municipal appointed position, requests an advisory opinion as to 1) whether he must disclose an easement right on his financial disclosure statement; 2) whether he must recuse on matters relating to the land on which the easement is located; and 3) whether he must recuse on matters related to other land or businesses of the owners of the lot on which he holds his easement.

RESPONSE

The petitioner, a municipal appointed official, is not required to declare the easement on his financial disclosure statement because he is not the owner of the easement. R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-17. Petitioner must recuse on any matters which come before the Planning Commission which relate to the land on which the easement is located because it is foreseeable that any action on the part of the Planning Commission relating to such land would financially affect the petitioner. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 36-14-5(a) and 7(a). However, the petitioner need not recuse on any matters relating to the other land or business of the owners of the lot on which the easement is located because he is not the business associate or relative of the owner of the easement and would not foresee any personal financial benefit or loss by voting on matters relating to the other property. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 36-14-5(a) and 7(a).

Code Citations:

36-14-5(a)
36-14-7(a)
36-14-17

Keywords:

Financial Disclosure
Financial Interest