- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - A Colorado Springs councilwoman facing both an ethics investigation and a recall vote owns property in Missouri that residents there want cleaned up.

The Gazette reported Tuesday (https://bit.ly/1FTkv6S) that Helen Collins owns two apartment buildings in Kansas City. The president of the Independence Plaza Neighborhood Council claims the property isn’t maintained and has been trying to contact Collins.

Council president Tom Ribera said residents have been working to spruce up properties and reduce crime. He said he found Collins after reading about her troubles in Colorado Springs.

Ribera said there is no evidence of a property manager at the buildings, tenants come and go and the buildings are in disrepair. He said he’s since sent a letter to Collins.

Ribera said his neighborhood council and a police community interaction program have worked with other businesses and property owners to increase security and maintain properties. “We will help her in any way we can,” he said of Collins.

Collins told The Gazette on Monday she didn’t know about any complaints in Kansas City.

In Colorado Springs, Collins faces an ethics complaint alleging she participated in a real estate deal with tax-limits activist Douglas Bruce that helped him avoid paying a court judgment of nearly $7,600 to the city. Collins has written that the complaint, brought by the city attorney’s office, has no merit and is part of an effort to have her recalled.

Bruce authored the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and was convicted in 2011 on tax evasion and other charges.

The city’s Independent Ethics Commission met Monday to discuss the claims. Attorney Jane Feldman, who represents the commission, said she could not comment on the meeting.

Collins also faces an April 7 recall election in her district in southeastern Colorado Springs.

Three residents launched the recall initiative in December over Collins’ opposition to a ballot measure to fund a regional storm water initiative. A group named Colorado Springs Government Watch backed the effort, claiming that Collins is too closely allied with Bruce.

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Information from: The Gazette, https://www.gazette.com

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