By Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver woman has lodged an official complaint with Denver’s Ethics Board against Denver Mayor Michael Hancock over his out-of-state travel during the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday. The complaint states the mayor’s actions were unethical and showed him “abusing his office for his own benefit and for the benefit of his immediate family members.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock

(credit: CBS)

Tonia Wilson, who filed the complaint, told CBS4 she filed the ethics complaint “because so many Denver residents, including myself, were angered by the hypocrisy of our Mayor’s actions.”

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The ethics board voted 5-0 to seek a formal response from Hancock on Wilson’s complaint.

Just before Thanksgiving, Hancock urged Denver residents not to travel.

“Stay home as much as you can,” tweeted Hancock. “Host virtual gatherings instead of in person dinners. Avoid travel if you can.”

He then boarded a flight an hour later to celebrate Thanksgiving in Mississippi with his wife and daughter. Hancock later apologized for his actions.

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Wilson said that’s hardly sufficient.

“Telling residents to stay home and avoid Thanksgiving gatherings for the good of the community as a whole while secretly planning to violate those directives is another example of the mayor abusing his office for his own benefit and for the benefit of his immediate family members,” said Wilson.

She said Hancock’s actions were “unacceptable” and beyond hypocrisy. Wilson, who has lived in Denver 20 years and works in the marketing field, said she would have loved to have flown out of state to spend Thanksgiving with her family, but heeded the calls of Mayor Hancock to stay home and avoid potential coronavirus spread.

“In summary, Mayor Michael Hancock is unfit for office,” said Wilson. “The Mayor does not demonstrate the high levels of ethical conduct, honesty, integrity, nor accountability required of his position. I do not have confidence that he is acting for the benefit of the public.”

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Kristin Bronson, Denver’s City Attorney, told CBS4 the ethics complaint was based “on bad facts or bad assumptions,” but she declined to elaborate. She said the Mayor’s office would cooperate with the ethics board in its process.

Brian Maass