The state body charged with investigating ethics complaints against public officials has agreed to conduct a formal inquiry into a controversial building constructed by former Troutdale Mayor Jim Kight.

Based on a complaint filed by Troutdale business owner Andy Gainer, the Oregon Government Ethics Commission voted March 1 to investigate Kight’s possible violations.

Gainer, owner of the Shaken Martini Lounge in Troutdale, filed his compliant last summer when Kight was still in office, alleging that Kight violated four state statutes including official misconduct and obstruction of government administration.

An independent investigation released last August also determined that Kight’s property on Jackson Park Road is zoned as single-family residential.

However, the city approved construction of a 2,032-square-foot building with a full basement next to Kight’s existing house on that same property near the Sandy River.

Troutdale city councilors said the investigation shows that Kight misled city staff and took advantage of the city’s permitting process to get the building approved even though it violates city codes by being a house, which is prohibited on his property.

Kight has emphatically insisted the building is a legal accessory structure that does not qualify as a house, noting that he uses it as office space to manage his rental properties.

Residents have since voted Kight out of office. He lost his re-election bid for mayor in November to fellow councilor Doug Daoust.

Kight did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

The Oregon Government Ethics Commission — a seven-member citizen commission that enforces government ethics laws — is scheduled to hold a meeting about its investigation on Aug. 23.

Penalties could range from a letter of education to a maximum civil penalty of up to $5,000.

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