FORT WORTH, Texas — Fort Worth City Manager David Cooke is coming under fire for how he handled a potential conflict-of-interest when it comes to city business.
Cooke is personal friends with the owners of Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth. During the Sept. 4th weekend they invited Cooke on their private plane to attend the Aspen Jazz Festival. Cooke got the chance to see jazz artists like Stevie Nicks perform live on stage.
When questioned about the get-away, Cooke exercised poor communication to the public according to council members. As city manager, Cooke oversees business deals, which include contracts for Sundance Square. Sundance Square, while privately owned, has contractual ties to the City of Fort Worth and is part of the Downtown Public Improvement District.
Fort Worth City Council members explained in an Oct. 4, 2022 letter to Cooke that although he did not violate the city's code of ethics, they are disappointed and ordered him to immediately recuse himself from contracts that involve Sundance Square.
Cooke will still be at the table as council members conduct city business. But they have reassigned business deals surrounding Sundance Square to the City Attorney.
In his October 5, 2022, apology letter David Cooke wrote "I should have better realized the perception these actions sent."
Now, all city leaders are being held accountable when it comes to transparency. As part of public trust, they will use a local government disclosure statement, effective immediately.