No ethics violation for Dallas council member over dog mauling

A Dallas City Council member accused of trying to profit off the daughter of a dog mauling victim won a victory Friday before a city ethics panel.

City council member Tiffinni Young had been accused of committing a third-degree felony by allegedly helping a wrongful death attorney get in touch with the daughter of the dog mauling victim.

Young's ethics complaint with the city was cleared on Friday, but she still faces a potential $10,000 judgment with a pending civil suit.

Antoinette Brown was still in the hospital on life support after a horrific mauling by a pack of dogs when, according to a lawsuit, Young first met Brown's daughter at the hospital.

"I don't know how she got my number,” said Matisha Ward, daughter of dog mauling victim.

It’s a third-degree felony for attorneys and others to solicit someone about a wrongful death or injury case for 30 days. Ward is suing Young and attorney Chris Chestnut for what is commonly called ambulance chasing.

"I still haven't had time for myself to believe my momma's not here,” Ward said.

Four days after Brown died, Young contacted ward again and asked if she had an attorney. Ward was recording the call.

The exchange raised questions of an ethics violation, which ended up before a three-member ethics panel. The City of Dallas prohibits councilmembers from helping someone sue the city.

The chair of the panel believed young violated the city's policy.

"She helped to line up a citizen with who was going to sue the city for wrongful death,” John Rogers, Dallas Ethics Advisory Commission Chair.

But the two other panel members disagreed.

"Nowhere in the conversation does he say would you like me to represent you,” said Pam Gerber, Ethics Advisory Commission Member.

"It's kind of like assuming it's going to take place and I don't see it at all," J.D. McLemore, Ethics Advisory Commission Member

But with two against one, the issue will not go to the city's full ethics commission.

Young was not at the hearing, and her attorney had no comment.

A former political opponent of Young felt the panel failed to protect the City of Dallas.

"The ethics commission of Dallas needs an overhaul,” resident Kevin Felder said.