Uncovered docs call Cotton's move from Police to Parks Departmen - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Uncovered docs call Cotton's move from Police to Parks Department into question

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Last April, Police Spokesperson Monique Cotton brought up concerns about her work environment and how she was being treated by then Police Chief Frank Straub in a private meeting with Mayor David Condon. A month later, she was the newly named Communications Manager for Riverfront Park and its $64 million dollar renovation.

Documents we have uncovered now call into question the Mayor's explanation and timeline of how and when that happened. During a private meeting with Mayor Condon on April 3, Cotton claimed the Police Chief "grabbed her ass and tried to kiss her", but she also made it clear that she wasn't comfortable filing a formal harassment complaint against him.

So Cotton, the Mayor and City Administrator, Theresa Sanders, worked on an arrangement for Cotton to be transferred to another department within the city.

According to the Mayor's official version of events, the same one he delivered in writing to the Spokane City Council, Cotton was interviewed by the Parks and Recreation Division Director Leroy Eadie and Parks Officer Jason Conley on April 27th to determine if her skills fit the needs of the department.

The Mayor said based on that interview, Cotton was offered the chance to move to the Parks Department as it's new Communications Manager.

Documents we received in a public records request, tell a very different version of events.

We discovered four drafts of a letter to Cotton in which the Mayor personally offers her the Parks job without even being interviewed. The earliest version dated April 17, 10 full days before her April 27th sit down with the Parks Director, who later told us in an email that she was the only person interviewed, saying "we did not have an open position".

We shared that new information with Council President Ben Stuckart and Council Member Mike Fagan who said they had no idea those offer letters even existed.

Stuckart tells us he believes Cotton's transfer out of the Police Department was and attempt by the Mayor to keep the city away from a lawsuit.

"This was obviously some type of underground settlement so she wouldn't file some type of complaint or go public," Stuckart said.

We asked to speak to the Mayor about the transfer but would not comment while the independent investigation is underway.

City Spokesperson Brian Coddington said,  "The Mayor was interviewed by Ms. Cappel this spring. The circumstances of Ms. Cotton's time with the parks department will undoubtedly be addressed in it."

For now, the city is awaiting the results of that independent investigation which should shed more light on these events. It's set to be released this Wednesday. 

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