New legal opinion in councilmember’s role on rec authority

A legal opinion sought by a critic of an Atlanta councilmember’s appointment to the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority is adding fuel to a debate over the appropriateness of her dual roles.

State Sen. Vincent Fort, who has slammed Keisha Lance Bottoms’ hiring as the authority’s executive director, said that the legislature’s legal counsel has determined that holding both positions could pose “conflicts of interest” due to the business relationships between the city and authority.

According to an opinion drafted by Jeff Lanier, an attorney with the general assembly’s Office of Legislative Counsel last month, while there is no known law that prohibits Bottoms from holding both positions, she could face instances in which she’d be forced to choose between the two entities’ interests. The authority oversees properties including Turner Field and Philips Arena.

Though the opinion has no legal bearing on her hiring, Fort is now calling on her to choose between her two publicly-funded positions.

Bottoms, an attorney who was hired through an unanimous vote by the authority board last month, has maintained that holding both positions poses no conflict.

Fort released the legal opinion just days after Fulton County Chairman John Eaves asked Attorney General Sam Olens to investigate a potential ethical conflict over her hiring.

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