Plaid AM Neil McEvoy facing councillors' tribunal over complaints
The Plaid Cymru AM Neil McEvoy is facing a tribunal over allegations he brought Cardiff council into disrepute in his role as a local councillor.
They have now been referred to the Adjudication Panel for Wales.
He could face suspension for up to a year as a councillor or disqualification as a councillor for up to five years.
Mr McEvoy, who is a Fairwater councillor, described the referral as a "politically motivated trial".
A number of complaints have been investigated by the Public Services Ombudsman, who referred the case to the panel.
They relate to three breaches of the councillors' code of conduct which say that:
- councillors should seek to avoid discrimination
- show respect and consideration for others
- not behave in a way which could reasonably be regarded as bringing the authority into disrepute at any time
The referral is an unusual development.
Few complaints end up going this far. Last year, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales dealt with 112 complaints against county councillors and only one was passed on to the adjudication panel.
'Hearings should be in public'
Mr McEvoy said: "My real concern is how politically motivated this case is.
"Since being elected as an AM I've been exposing the questionable government grants being given out by Labour and shining a light on lobbying and land deals which have lost millions of pounds of taxpayers' money."
He said: "I have requested that the hearings take place in public and that they broadcast live like council and assembly meetings. I have absolutely nothing to hide.
"I am also requesting that the matter be dealt with as a matter of urgency within the next few weeks, or be dealt with after May's election.
"I think the ultimate aim of those involved is to prevent me from standing for election in May. There are serious vested interests in Cardiff who do not want me making decisions after May."
The ombudsman could have referred the matter to the standards committee of Cardiff council but a referral to the Adjudication Panel for Wales is more serious because the potential sanctions are more severe.
As well as being an AM for South Wales Central, Mr McEvoy is a councillor for the Fairwater area of the city and a former deputy leader of the local authority.
Any suspension would have major implications for his ability to stand in council elections in the spring.
A Plaid Cymru spokeswoman said: "Neil is a hard working AM and councillor who always gives 100% for his constituents. Neil has provided a personal statement.
"It would not be appropriate for the party to comment on any proceedings but we trust that this matter will be dealt with in a fair, swift, open and transparent manner."
In response to the claim from Mr McEvoy that the action against him is politically motivated, a spokesman for the ombudsman Nick Bennett said: "It is the ombudsman's role to consider and investigate complaints made to him about the conduct of local authority members.
"Following an investigation into a complaint made against Cardiff Councillor Neil McEvoy it was concluded that the resultant report should be referred to the Adjudication Panel for Wales."
"It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."