Odessa Headlines learned today that Odessa City Councilwoman Denise Swanner has lodged a formal ethics complaint with the State Bar of Texas against former Odessa City Attorney Natasha Brooks over her role in the illegal backdating of Councilman Steve Thompson’s conflict of interest forms in 2020.
The State Bar of Texas is an agency of the judiciary under the administrative control of the Texas Supreme Court. It is responsible for assisting the Texas Supreme Court in overseeing all attorneys licensed to practice law in Texas and is responsible for licensing attorneys to practice in Texas. The State Bar is also in charge of overseeing ethical complaints filed against Texas attorneys and can discipline attorneys by suspending or revoking their license to practice in the state.
“The citizens of Odessa rely upon our City Attorney to ensure that we correctly follow all laws and procedures and Ms. Brooks not only failed in her duties but, based on the sworn affidavits that the city has received, it seems clear to me that Ms. Brooks stepped far over a number of ethical lines. I hope that we don’t uncover other shady things Ms. Brooks may have been involved in.” Swanner told Odessa Headlines. “Considering that her actions have really put Mr. Thompson in a difficult position, I am surprised that he hasn’t filed an ethics complaint against her already but I felt that someone had to take this step to protect anyone that might rely on her advice in the future. I also hope that other City Councilmembers join me in my complaint with the Bar.”
According to the State Bar website, upon submission of a complaint, the allegations filed will be investigated and if found that the facts submitted constitute a potential ethics violation then a formal investigation will be opened. Should a formal investigation be opened Ms. Brooks would then have 30 days to respond to the allegations.
Odessa Headlines will continue to monitor this story and will provide updates as they become available.