Sour Leads 

Council member Jamie Isabel hits up his colleagues for business

Council member Jamie Isabel hits up his colleagues for business

The latest antic from a Metro Council member is a tacky business move that would have even the Donald shaking his head in disapproval. First-termer Jamie Isabel recently delivered two of his promotional company's brochures to the council boxes of his 39 colleagues. Included was a pitch letter asking them to call "if I may be of any assistance to you or your organization." He also included his business card. All that was missing was an application for free credit—and who knows—that might be included in future mailings.

"This is the first time I've sent it out," Isabel says. "We'll send it out again if we have some specials."

Earlier in the term, Isabel approached Metro Council staff attorney Don Jones with perhaps the easiest question a government lawyer has ever been asked: Can Isabel, as a newly elected Metro Council member who votes on the city budget, continue to print promotional brochures for the city as his company had done before his election? The answer was a resounding no. But apparently there is no stipulation stopping the resourceful Isabel from tapping his colleagues as a client base.

"We can do business with council members; we just can't do business with the city," Isabel says, explaining the nuances of the legislative body's notoriously lax ethics policy. "Council members can do business with me."

Isabel's company, Dalmation Creative Agency, bills itself as a promotional firm specializing in imprinting items and something called "corporate fulfillment programs." Conveniently enough, Isabel's company also provides printing services for political campaigns, a specialty he makes it a point to include to his target audience of politicians.

Vice Mayor Howard Gentry says that while Isabel probably shouldn't have distributed copies of his company's promotional literature to legislative colleagues, he wasn't violating any statutes. Still, the council is getting set to appoint a citizen task force to review its ethics policy. It wouldn't be shocking to see this issue come up.

"It's not illegal, but he should use caution and discretion in how he's doing it," Gentry explains. "We shouldn't utilize the forum of the Metro Council for personal business, but I don't see harm in letting members of the council know what business you're in. I just think you should do it with discretion."

That's a quality that the Metro Council hasn't exemplified in the long first six months of the new term. Whether it was blocking former council member Eileen Beehan's appointment to the traffic and parking commission due to her unrelated support for last year's gay rights legislation, or just openly fretting about the safety and security of its bottled water supply, the city's legislative body hasn't distinguished itself as a collection of latter-day Churchills. Then again, Metro Council members apparently know a bad deal when they see one. According to Isabel, none of them is currently doing business with him.


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