The ethics committee is not taking action against School Board Member David Pickler, following claims by fellow board member Martavius Jones. Jones claims Pickler personally benefited from a $12 million transaction by the Memphis City Schools.
Jones presented documentation in December that Pickler's financial firm, American Funds Mutual Company, is the investor of record for Memphis City Schools' $12 million investment into what's known as the GASB 45 fund (http://www.tsba.net/Services_Products/GASB_45_Trust).
"The public needs to ask the question, should a board member benefit directly or indirectly by sitting on a public body and somehow receive compensation for it?" says Jones, as to why he brought forth the claim against Pickler.
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Jones suggested the $12 million investment was approved in the budget process on June 26 last year and that he should have disclosed he received compensation. The ethics committee says Pickler did disclose that information in a letter in September 2012.
Pickler addressed at Wednesday's ethics meeting that he assigned the account to another employee so he would not receive compensation from that $12 million.
"This is a situation that I believe was not handled appropriately, that, like I said before, was handled in a reckless manner, and that even a small amount of research would have clearly uncovered there was no violation," says Pickler.
Jones says he does not plan to pursue any further action against Pickler but does want to introduce a new resolution as a result. He wants it to state that the school system has a fully independent trust so there are no direct or in-direct affiliations with anyone on the board who will manage these assets.
Pickler also says he does not plan to pursue legal action against Jones relating to the claims. He says he believes this claim was made to hurt him personally, hurt his business and hurt the efforts to bring the Memphis and Shelby County school communities together.
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