The group on Monday filed a formal complaint with the state Ethics Commission, contending that the mayor should immediately recuse himself from the ongoing permitting process.

Bianchi, who has prepared a written disclosure statement concerning the situation, said the conflict allegation is baseless, and he doesn't plan to bow out of the debate.

In a prepared release by BEAT, group Advocate Michael Muadin said in part, "He [Bianchi] needs to immediately recuse himself from any formal executive actions related to this pipeline."

Muadin said during a subsequent telephone conversation that while the mayor may have filed a disclosure statement, "it is after the fact," and the alleged conflict has existed until now.

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