Helen Collins is not the first City Councilor to be accused of violating the city’s ethics code, and she’s unlikely to be the last.

Since 1994, four members of City Council and one incumbent mayor have been formally accused of unethical and/or criminal conduct.

Bill Guman, Tom Gallagher, Tim Leigh and Mayor Lionel Rivera were charged with ethical lapses of varying severity, and four were absolved of any violation. A fifth, Charles Wingate, left office after being charged with 16 felonies and two misdemeanors. A sixth, Joanne Colt, resigned her position after being sanctioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission for her role in an Internet stock swindle orchestrated by her son and two of his Georgetown Law School classmates.

In severe financial distress, Wingate apparently used his city credit card to pay for pizza deliveries and pawned any city property he could get his hands on — including a clock radio belonging to one of his fellow Council members.

“This is a human tragedy,” said his Council colleague Ted Eastburn at the time. “It’s not about politics.”

In 1994, landscape architect Guman came under fire for violating a provision of the city code prohibiting city officials from bidding on city contracts. The charges were found to be baseless, and Guman served on Council for two terms.

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In 2005, Gallagher was accused of violating the ethics code because he supported an alternate reservoir site for the Southern Delivery System project that would have financially benefited his employers, Jim and Mark Morley. Gallagher had touted the site during a City Council meeting, much to the dismay of Rivera and some of his Council peers. City Attorney Pat Kelly investigated the allegations and cleared Gallagher.

Of the ethics complaints prior to those filed against Collins, the most serious was filed in 2009 by Central Bank President Ron Johnson. The complaint accused then-Mayor Rivera of a conflict of interest in a relationship with local businessman Ray Marshall.

Since 1994, four members of City Council and one incumbent mayor have been formally accused of unethical and/or criminal conduct.

Marshall’s company, LandCo Equity Partners, was chosen as the developer to partner with the U.S. Olympic Committee and the city to create a retention package for the USOC, despite Rivera’s undisclosed stockbroker/client relationship with Marshall. In a nine-page report, the Ethics Commission said that no violation had occurred, since the developer was chosen by the USOC, not Mayor Rivera.

Like those filed against Guman and Gallagher, the charges filed against Leigh in 2013 were rooted in politics.

Leigh had been a persistent critic of the Neumann Systems Group’s pollution-control contract with Colorado Springs Utilities for work at Martin Drake Power Plant. Leigh had called for the contract to be terminated and accused its signatories of acting unethically, even dishonestly.

NSG president Dave Neumann in turn accused Leigh of multiple ethics violations, including fudging travel expenses on a trip to North Dakota. The charges were eventually dismissed, but might have contributed to Leigh’s defeat in a bid for a second term on Council.

The CSBJ then reported “a tangled web of misunderstanding, suspicion, anger and clashing personalities. Leigh is portrayed as outspoken, careless, but innocent of any wrongdoing, while Neumann and his associates seem to be wary, suspicious, self-protective and angry.”

“I’m delighted that I was exonerated,” said Leigh at the time. “It’s no surprise. I’m just dismayed that it cost me $17,000 in legal fees, as well as time, energy, sleepless nights and reputational damage.”

It’s easy enough to file an ethics complaint, yet even baseless accusations can cause harm.

But the commission’s report about Collins may fall into another category.

In unequivocally stating that Collins committed two felonies, and aided in the commission of a third, the report implicitly invites local and perhaps state law enforcement agencies to take action.

Like Leigh, Collins refuses to be a passive victim. She’s demanding a “full trial” before Council, accusing her colleagues of following improper and illegal procedures. She clearly hopes to be seen as a victim, not a perp.

Will she succeed?

If they’re smart, Council will name a hearing officer to conduct the so-called “kangaroo court,” thereby depriving Collins of the opportunity to mount the “poor, pitiful, persecuted me” defense before a full Council.

Not that she has much to fear from either Council or a hearing officer.

Censure? That and a dollar will buy you an hour on a downtown parking meter.