Mayor Corradini solicited and accepted more than $200,000 in cash gifts from wealthy, powerful, influential men. The mayor has stated that no special access was granted to the gift givers. However, who doubts for an instant that such men do not already possess de facto special access to the mayor's office?
Mayor Corradini has indicated that no consideration was specified for the gifts. However, if any of the gift givers were to directly or indirectly ask a "favor" in the future, certainly the mayor's office would "feel the need" to give special attention to such a request.Most of the acts of government do not rise to the level of newsworthy events. It is in these obscure corners that favors are done. It is more probable than not that these gift givers will have business with the city in the next few years while Corradini is mayor.
Solicitation and or acceptance of gifts by elected officials from citizens for personal gain is morally and ethically wrong. The mayor's office must be free from the taint of special interest and from the appearance of being controlled.
These enormous gifts have compromised the integrity of the mayor's office and destroyed the ability of the mayor to wield moral authority. No free government can tolerate corruption in its elected officials. While one may quibble over whether or not these gifts to Mayor Corradini are corruption in fact, they nevertheless carry the smell of corruption.
I am not unsympathetic with the mayor's financial problems. A huge debt, especially with a bankruptcy trustee breathing down your neck, is an awful burden to carry. The fact that Mayor Corradini and her husband settled with the bankruptcy trustee means they have some personal liability and have accepted responsibility. That is no different than owing money to a bank or mortgage company. There is no functional difference between asking powerful wealthy men for money to pay off a debt to a bankruptcy trustee and asking those same men to pay off your home mortgage.
As good and generous as these gift givers may be, only the most gullible persons would believe they would do that for a common citizen who was not in the position of the mayor. Therefore, Mayor Corradini should either give the money back or resign her position as mayor.
Michael W. Crippen
Salt Lake City