Mayor responds to accusations he made a backroom deal - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mayor responds to accusations he made a backroom deal

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Mayor responds to accusations he made a backroom deal Mayor responds to accusations he made a backroom deal
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Mayor Condon is on the defense after a Spokane City Council member accused him overstepping his power in 2013, when he sent a memo to hotel developer Walt Worthy with parameters for city investment in the new Davenport Grand Hotel.

“The council was never agreed to a certain dollar amount,” Councilwoman Amber Waldref said. “I guess I was a little surprised a couple weeks ago at a finance committee meeting to hear we had gotten a bill for over $300,000.”

Waldref acknowledges that the city held meetings in the summer of 2013 where they outlined possible investment totals for the project, but she says they never agreed on a final total before Mayor Condon sent the memo.

The memo, sent to Walt Worthy on July 26, 2013, shows a potential total investment of up to $3.36 million, with up to $2 million of it allotted for environment remediation.

Last week, Walt Worthy sent the city an estimate for the completed remediation work, which totaled $318,000 (well below the estimate).

Mayor Condon says his memo was no deal, but rather an update in good faith, showing Worthy a rough investment total the city had discussed.

“That's how you build confidence with the private sector,” Mayor Condon told KHQ. “There was nothing that transpired that was not transparent.”

A letter also shows Walt Worthy made contact with Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart days after receiving the mayor's memo to update him on the project. Worthy told KHQ he assumed Stuckart was keeping the council updated on all contact and estimates.

Ben Stuckart told KHQ's Gabe Cohen this situation was mostly a miscommunication, and all council members are on board with this project.

Worthy says neither he nor the mayor did anything out of the ordinary for business enterprises in Spokane. And Mayor Condon agrees, adding that the $318,000 estimate from Worthy is not a bill but rather a financial request the council will vote on.

“We're in final approval now,” Mayor Condon said, adding that if any council members don't like the total they will have the chance to vote on it.

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