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Mayor of Bellevue fined $5,000 over conflict of interest complaint; state senator’s committee sanctioned

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Mayor of Bellevue fined $5,000 over conflict of interest complaint; state senator’s committee sanctioned

Apr 12, 2024 | 7:00 pm ET
By Paul Hammel
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Mayor of Bellevue fined $5,000 over conflict of interest complaint; state senator’s committee santioned
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The Nebraska State Capitol's west entrance. (Paul Hammel/Nebraska Examiner)

LINCOLN — Bellevue Mayor Rusty Hike has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine for a conflict of interest concerning a vote he took that involved a property he had once partly owned.

The penalty was announced Friday by the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission, which had fielded a complaint about a vote Hike made at an Oct. 19, 2021, meeting of the Bellevue City Council.

Mayor of Bellevue fined $5,000 over conflict of interest complaint; state senator’s committee sanctioned
Rusty Hike, mayor of Bellevue. (Courtesy of City of Bellevue)

The council, at that meeting, was voting on whether to declare a certain property in the city “blighted” as part of a redevelopment project.

Mayor cast tie-breaking vote

According to the commission’s investigation, Hike was part owner of that property within a year of the vote, and the mayor’s real estate company was marketing it for sale.

The council’s vote on the resolution to blight the property was 4-4, with the mayor casting the tie-breaking vote to approve the measure.

The commission found that Hike had violated two state statutes —  failing to file a conflict of interest statement, and using his office, through his vote, for financial gain.

In a settlement agreement with the Accountability and Disclosure Commission, Hike agreed to pay a civil penalty of $5,000 and file conflict of interest statements in the future.

Sen. DeKay sanctioned

In other action Friday, the commission reached a settlement agreement with State Sen. Barry DeKay of Niobrara and his political campaign committee for failing to list the names and addresses of all donors to the committee of $250 or more.

DeKay, according to the commission, provided the missing names and addresses shortly after being informed of the problem.

He agreed to pay a $250 civil fine.