Arlington mayor hints at ethics probe of council member




Posted on February 8, 2012 at 2:53 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 8 at 11:42 AM

ARLINGTON — Arlington City Council member and deputy mayor pro tem Mel LeBlanc filed for re-election on Monday — the same day damaging evidence was released about his former drug addiction and connection to city strip clubs.

LeBlanc, first elected in 2006, continues to run unopposed for the District 1 seat, but Mayor Robert Cluck says an investigation into his actions may be forthcoming to determine whether he violated any ethics policies.

The mayor responded to details released by News 8 on Monday that showed, according to official police records, that LeBlanc solicited prostitutes to obtain drugs prior to going to rehab last spring.

LeBlanc declined to answer questions as he arrived for Tuesday's City Council session. But in a brief e-mail message to News 8 on Tuesday, he said, "Please note that all information that has been made public about my addiction and recovery, and all incidents in between, have not emerged via any police investigation, nor police action, nor undercover activity, etc. It has all come directly from me and my wife, from our answering all questions put to us honestly and forthrightly."

While LeBlanc is not publicly speaking out, his colleagues are.

"I don't like it," Mayor Cluck said. "I don't like the publicity. I'm troubled, and I'm sad at the same time. I'm sad that we have a member who is still recovering."

The mayor added the developments have been extremely hard on the City Council, but while it is troubling, there's very little Arlington can do about it.

"We have no way to get him off the council," Cluck said. "I'm not saying we even want to, but the Charter does not allow us to take a member off the Council."

Mel LeBlanc is not facing any criminal charges, but on Tuesday evening, Mayor Cluck said that in the coming days and weeks, he would not be surprised if the city conducts its own ethics investigation into the councilman's activities.