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Carlisle advised to reimburse city $3,300 for wife’s China trip

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Mayor Peter Carlisle has been advised to reimburse the city $3,300 to cover the cost of his wife’s trip to China with him in June 2011, the city Ethics Commission said today.

"The Commission reasoned that Mrs. Carlisle was not a city officer or employee and her presence with the mayor during the China trip was not necessary to accomplish a city purpose," the Ethics Commission said in a news release.

Carlisle had traveled to China with a delegation from the city paid for by a gift of $16,500 from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Honolulu, the Chengdu and Qinhuangdao Municipal People’s Government and the Shenzhen Delicate Furniture Company.

The purpose of the trip was to strenghthen a sister city relationship and discuss economic development opportunities.

If the mayor fails to repay the city, it could be a violation of the law that prohibits use of city resources for non-city purposes, the Commission said.

Carlisle has until Feb. 23 to take corrective action.

At a news conference, Carlisle said he would review the Ethics Commission’s opinion and respond by the given deadline.

"I respectfully disagree with the notion that a spouse’s travel might not serve a public purpose under appropriate circumstances," he said at an afternoon news conference. "I also note the commission advises that any reimbursement is to go into city coffers and not back to the donors. This is unfortunate for the donors; it was always my intention to honor the generosity of their gift and request."

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