Memphis City Councilwoman Michalyn Easter-Thomas Resigns Amid Ethics Complaint Into Her Employment

by Gee NY
Michalyn Easter-Thomas

In a stunning development, District 7 Councilwoman Michalyn Easter-Thomas has tendered her resignation from her role with the Memphis River Parks Partnership (MRPP).

This announcement, made Wednesday, follows an ethics complaint filed earlier in the year, alleging violations of the city charter due to her affiliation with MRPP.

Monika Johnson, Chief Ethics Officer of the Memphis Board of Ethics, asserted that Easter-Thomas had seemingly been benefiting financially from her involvement with the nonprofit.

The gravity of the situation prompted the ethics board to convene a formal hearing, which unfolded amidst a fervent display of support for Easter-Thomas.

André Wharton, Easter-Thomas’ legal representative, spoke about the sacrifice made by the councilwoman in the pursuit of public service.

He clarified that Easter-Thomas had abstained from voting on matters pertaining to MRPP ever since assuming her role there in May 2023.

The hearing, held at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, drew a sizable crowd, necessitating a relocation to accommodate the overflow of attendees. However, the proceedings were devoid of any cameras as Easter-Thomas’ case was deliberated.

Ultimately, the hearing was brief, concluding with Easter-Thomas’ resignation from MRPP, effectively conceding to the ethics board’s findings.

The board determined that she had breached the city’s ethics code by failing to disclose her employment with MRPP while recusing herself from council votes related to the organization.

Rodrick Holmes, an attorney representing the ethics board, underscored that the decision to resign was not a settlement but a culmination of the board’s recommendation based on established facts.

Wharton contended that Easter-Thomas had duly disclosed her position with MRPP, citing grant funding as the source of her employment.

The board further proposed issuing a written opinion to the city council, leaving it to city leaders to determine whether censure is warranted against Easter-Thomas.

This development marks a significant chapter in Memphis’ political landscape, underscoring the importance of transparency and adherence to ethical standards in public office.

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