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Tempe Releases Documents In City Councilman Kolby Granville Investigation

The city of Tempe released new documents on Friday detailing its internal investigation into Councilman Kolby Granville.

The city provided the documents following a 6-0 council vote on Thursday to waive attorney-client privilege. Granville recused himself from the vote.

Granville was fired from his charter school teaching job in December 2017 after former students alleged he provided alcohol to them when they were underage and made “unwanted sexual advances.” 

Granville denied the claims, and Phoenix police found there was not evidence to charge Granville with a crime.

Tempe voters last fall approved changes to the city charter that allow a council supermajority to vote to remove its own members “if there is ‘clear and convincing evidence’ of unlawful conduct ‘involving moral turpitude, fraud or corruption.’”

It is not yet known whether the city will reprimand Granville for his actions. Recommendations from Sarah L. Barnes, a lawyer hired by the city to conduct an investigation into possible code-of-conduct violations, were redacted from the report.  

Barnes-Granville Interview 

All direct quotes are from this interview. 

  • Granville believes the city charter change might be used to remove him from office. “I think there’s a 50-50 chance,” Granville told the investigator in a recorded interview. “I think they would like to implement it retroactively. I think given how popular I generally am among Tempe residents, I think that they’re going to have to do a wait on how much they want to get rid of me versus how much the fallout is worth.”
  • Granville says he did date one former student of the school and told her not to share that they were dating with other people. “Because something can be permissible to do, but not socially acceptable to do.” Granville said he was concerned it would be “political fodder.”
  • Granville said he was set up on a blind date with another former student from Tempe Prep. The third or fourth time they went out, they were talking on his roof when her age came up. “I said, ‘How old are you?’ She said 17. You got to go. I was really upset.”
  • Granville said he would like to resign from the Tempe City Council, but believes he can’t. “Because 15,000 people voted for me to do a job and I believe I should do that job. And so, it’s a horrible, miserable, terrible job where I put up with stuff like this, but it’s really not about what I want to do.”

Barnes Memo To Tempe Attorney

This document outlines the outside lawyer’s findings. The recommendations for what the city should do are redacted.

“Overall, Mr. Granville came across as somewhat evasive and deceptive at numerous times, while at other times trying to be very cooperative and open about his actions, when he was characterizing them as appropriate and being a self-proclaimed good guy.”

The investigator lists code-of-conduct personnel rules that could be applicable to Granville’s actions, including those related to abusive language, behavior or conduct, not meeting a standard of workplace civility and engaging in conduct that “causes discredit to the city.”

Granville Response

Granville said he disagreed with the conclusions and wanted to correct “characterizations” of his responses in the interview.

He added that in several instances the investigator confused stories or misstated his words. He listed these in a six-page letter. 

Barnes Response To Granville

An enumerated list of replies to Granville’s objections. 

“None of Mr. Granville’s responses or objections cause me to change the findings and recommendations in my December Memorandum with respect to the evidence.” 

Mariana Dale rustles up stories as a senior field correspondent based out of KJZZ’s East Valley Bureau in Tempe. She’s followed a microphone onto cattle ranches, to the Dominican Republic and many places in between. Dale believes in a story’s strength to introduce us to diverse perspectives, inspire curiosity and hold public leaders accountable for their actions. She started at KJZZ on the digital team in 2016 and still spends a lot of time thinking about how to engage with our community online. Dale has learned from stints at Arizona Public Media, The Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Republic and as an intern at NPR’s Morning Edition in Culver City. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Dale is grateful for the mentoring of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, the Chips Quinn Scholars program and AIR’s New Voices Scholars. A desert native, she loves spending time outside hiking, tending to her cactus and reading.