I have known Ian Thomas for many years. The man I know is intelligent, hard-working and fully committed to doing the right thing to increase opportunities for all Columbians and to improve the quality of life for all of us. He is an outstanding public servant.
This is the way it looks to me:
1. He wanted to find a way to increase the supply of affordable housing (a goal I support).
2. After two months of negotiations to include affordable housing in a proposal, the developers offered to make a contribution to another affordable housing organization.
3. Thomas agreed to support the project.
4. He was told there was a legal problem with that agreement.
5. He took full and public responsibility for his error, withdrew from the agreement and recused himself from further council action on that matter.
In short, he did the right thing. Good intentions, honest mistake, accountability and appropriate action. That, to me, should be the end of the story.
There was no criminal intent. Indeed, I can’t see why there should be any question of a “crime” having been committed.
Yet, Thomas is being prosecuted. Why? Perhaps because his advocacy for affordable housing is “inconvenient” for developers, and they would like to see him replaced on the city council by someone more “friendly” to “business interests?”
If so, what we are seeing is a political vendetta.
Andrew C. Twaddle lives in Columbia.