Tucson Councilman Cunningham 'in treatment' for drinking problem

2012-06-05T18:48:00Z 2012-06-05T18:48:23Z Tucson Councilman Cunningham 'in treatment' for drinking problemArizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 05, 2012 6:48 pm  • 

Tucson City Councilman Paul Cunningham acknowledged Tuesday that he is “in treatment” for a drinking problem, but declined to elaborate due to an ongoing investigation by the city attorney and the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs.

Cunningham has been accused of making inappropriate sexual comments to three city executives after hours of drinking at a San Diego hotel bar during an economic development junket.

Reading from a prepared statement at the start of Tuesday's council meeting, Cunningham said, “I am releasing this statement in regards to multiple requests concerning my actions during the recent trip to San Diego.

“I acknowledge that I had too much to drink and said some things that might be considered inappropriate.

“I apologize for my behavior. I have some personal issues I’m dealing with. I will make amends to anyone I offended and to my constituents as best I can.

“I fully support city attorney’s inquiry into this incident. I will reserve further comment until the conclusion of the investigation.”

The council is scheduled to discuss possible legal and policy changes that will allow them to sanction council members who behave inappropriately in the future.

Earlier on Tuesday the council discussed what kind of information it wants to be provided for that meeting, including about the code of conduct, ethics rules and gift rules.

Councilman Richard Fimbres said he wants to know what city documents newly elected officials receive during orientation, what state laws could possibly come into play, and how the city has previously used a little-known rule that lets the council fine a councilman $50 for bad behavior.

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