Newark's City Council president has admitted ethics-law violations and agreed to repay more than $6,000 for receiving real-estate commissions from the sale of multiple properties in which the city had involvement.

Newark's City Council president has admitted ethics-law violations and agreed to repay more than $6,000 for receiving real-estate commissions from the sale of multiple properties in which the city had involvement.

As part of an Ohio Ethics Commission settlement agreement, Don Ellington acknowledged that the commissions he received from the sales of five properties in Newark violated public contract provisions of the Ohio Ethics Law.

In lieu of a referral to a prosecutor, Ellington "agrees to accept a public reprimand" and pay restitution of $6,168 to the city of Newark, according to the settlement agreement, which was obtained by The Columbus Dispatch.

The agreement says that Ellington's real-estate company was involved in the sale of four properties that received grant funding from Newark's Community Development Department. A fifth property listed by the company was sold directly to the city. Ellington earned a total of $10,513 in commissions from the sales, which occurred between 2008 and 2011, according to Licking County auditor's records.

Ellington's partner handled the sales, but the council president received commission because he is the company's broker.

Though Ellington said he "felt like I didn't have anything to do with this," he "certainly wouldn't do that again."

Ellington has been on City Council since 2002 and has served as council president since 2011. The ethics investigation had been ongoing for three or four years, Ellington said.

"I've lived in this community 63 years, and I've worked really hard to build a good reputation," he said. "I wouldn't risk my reputation over $6,000."

Ellington's restitution covers the commission he earned on the four properties that received city grant funding. He was not ordered to repay his $4,345 commission from the sale of a Wilson Street property to the city of Newark because his interest in the transaction was disclosed to the city law director, who did not raise a conflict-of-interest or ethical issue, the settlement said.

jsmola@dispatch.com

@jennsmola