AUSTIN, Texas - In June, with the help of Austin attorney Fred Lewis, a group of current and former Board of Adjustment members filed bar grievance complaints against former Assistant Austin City Attorney Brent Lloyd.
Bryan King, who used to sit on the board filed one of the complaints.
He explains the Board of Adjustment is a City board that grants variances to land development code and interpretations of it.
"It actually defines the code when it needs to be defined," King said.
The grievance points out Lloyd served as Assistant City Attorney for the board and for the City of Austin. In the complainants' view, that led to concerns over apparent conflicts of interest.
In 2017 the board began looking at amending procedural rules to prevent future issues. Lloyd was opposed.
Lewis says in 2018, City staff and Lloyd were meeting with a real estate firm when Lloyd's words were caught on tape. "And at his own initiative Mr. Lloyd brought up that he wanted the Drenner Group and the Real Estate Council of Austin to help him oppose his client, the Board of Adjustment's proposed rules," Lewis said.
King says he confronted Lloyd at a BOA meeting. "After I had heard about the meeting taking place but prior to actually hearing the tape I asked him if he had had a meeting or a conversation like that and he denied it," King said.
"As a lawyer, you have a duty to your client, a fiduciary duty, highest duty at law. You cannot undermine your client's objectives and you have to be full disclosure with your client and you can't misrepresent things to your client," Lewis said.
Lloyd sent a statement to the Austin Monitor in response to the allegations. He tells FOX 7 he stands by that statement. Lloyd wrote the board's proposed rules regarding appeal filings were unlawful. And he told them that. "My duty was to provide candid and accurate legal advice, not to aid in actions that I concluded were unlawful. I made no misrepresentations to anyone, including the board, concerning these issues. Nor did I provide biased or conflicted advice to the board on appeals pending before them for consideration," Lloyd said.
"I think Mr. Lloyd's response ignores the elephant in the room that he had a secret meeting with developers and he was undermining the board and he never addresses that he did that," King said.
Lloyd is no longer a lawyer in the City Attorney's office. Now he's on the leadership team for the land development code rewrite.
"If you have an agenda, you're undermining your client's agenda, you aren't a truth-teller, in my opinion, you shouldn't be writing a code that affects every single person in this city," Lewis said. "The other thing is it's clear that he has very friendly relationships with developers and the Real Estate Council because he's soliciting their help to prevent there being fair rules that will benefit landowners and property owners," Lewis said.
Assistant City Manager Rodney Gonzales tells FOX 7: "I have full faith and confidence in the land development code team and Brent in particular. In my extensive interactions with Brent over the years, he has always demonstrated unparalleled dedication, competence, and professionalism."