Seabold Group defends decision to remove Mayor's name from alleg - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Seabold Group defends decision to remove Mayor's name from allegation of delaying public records

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Seabold Group defends decision to remove Mayor's name from allegation of delaying public records Seabold Group defends decision to remove Mayor's name from allegation of delaying public records
SPOKANE, Wash. -

On Thursday, August 4, the group investigating the City of Spokane's dismissal of Frank Straub defended an amendment made to the final investigative report. Kris Cappel, the lead investigator says she participated in a conversation with new Spokane City Attorney Laura McAloon, following a previous conversation with the city's Oversight Committee. At that meeting, Cappel says McAloon expressed surprise that Mayor Condon and Communications Director Brian Coddington were implicated in the public records related findings.

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

The report had concluded that Mayor Condon, Brian Coddington, City Administrator Theresa Sanders and former City Attorney Nancy Isserlis delayed the release of records that had been requested by The Spokesman-Review with the “intent and purpose of delaying the production of those records until after the Mayor’s election.”

Past Coverage: Firm handling Straub/Cotton investigation releases statement: 'We urge patience and restraint'

Cappel says after her conversation with McAloon, and without any effort to persuade her to change any findings, she re-examined the evidence and "determined that the findings regarding Mayor David Condon and the Communications Director Brian Coddington on the public records disclosure issue were 'inconclusive.'"

RELATED: Stuckart: 'If the Mayor refuses to do his job and lead on this crucial issue the Council will do it for him'

Cappel says she and her investigators stand by their final report, which include inferences that were drawn from the circumstances that existed at the time.

Cappel writes that those circumstances include:

  • No Mayor had been re-elected to a second term in 40 years
  • In the weeks before the election, Mayor Condon suddenly demanded Chief Straub’s resignation and he waived attorney-client privilege so he could release letters that were critical of Straub to justify his decision
  • The Condon Administration undertook significant effort over a period of months to conceal and misrepresent Cotton’s allegations against Straub and Straub’s inappropriate behavior in March 2015
  • The Mayor falsely denied Cotton’s sexual harassment allegations on the day he announced Straub’s resignation
  • The November 24 documents (less than 25 pages total) memorialized the information the Administration was attempting to hide; the City Administrator did not believe Cotton’s sexual harassment allegations and thought Cotton was setting the City up for litigation
  • The City Administrator stipulated to a finding of dishonesty after attacking the Mayor’s opponent for filing a politically motivated ethics complaint
  • The City Attorney took over the review of Straub/Cotton public records from the City Clerk four days after emailing the City Administrator that they needed to talk about one of the Straub/Cotton public records requests
  • The City Attorney and the City Administrator, the two individuals who were most intimately involved in managing the Straub/Cotton issues from beginning to end, two of the most senior executives in the City, and the two individuals who were most familiar with the November 24 documents, repeatedly failed to inform the City Clerk that those records existed
  • The City Attorney and the City Administrator told the Clerk they had no responsive records
  • The November 24 records were obviously responsive to numerous public records requests, one filed as early as August 18th
  • The November 24 records suddenly surfaced - for the first time - on November 10th, one week after the election, and the predictable media firestorm that erupted after those documents were finally released
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