I would have liked to cover this earlier but travel, lack of electricity, and Family kind of got in the way. From the Private Citizens standpoint this is important information and hopefully will provide a picture of the mess we are in when it comes to local law enforcement, the way our City is governed, and the very obvious shortcomings of the Spokesman Review in preforming their role as the 4th Estate.
The folks at the Spokesman Review won’t like this Article, especially Nick Deshais who won’t look very good when folks read the facts, but maybe this time he can learn something from it. For those that don’t know, Nick was at one time a reporter at the PNW Inlander, was subsequently hired by the SR, left the SR for a higher paying job at WSU, but left the WSU job for some reason and returned to the SR. Unfortunately, Nick just doesn’t have the drive or the experience to be a good Investigative Reporter, I personally have supplied him a considerable amount of information regarding Condon and Straub over the last couple of years that he did nothing with, the information clearly demonstrated Straub’s and Condon’s lies. Some of the information I provided Deshais if followed up would have alerted the SR Readership regarding what is going on long before the election, but instead the readers ended up with this hidden away in a Blog Post on the SR site just a few days before the election.
Here is the Deshais’s SR Blog Post of Oct 30th, 2015.
These are the comments made to the Blog Post. I wonder who that Tony Bigsmoke poster is? J What is really sad about the Deshais Blog Post is that it came shortly before the election, was a Blog Post with very limited reader exposure, and Deshais had received the same information over and over from people like me. Shamefully for the SR it also adds credence to the theory that the SR’s and Cowles favorite for Mayor, David Condon, was getting able to get negative stories about him “Spiked”.
The best place to start I would guess is at the beginning. Many of the people that follow this Blog will recall that over the past three years I continually provided information and tips for the media to follow-up in my comments on the SR, regarding Frank Straub, the lies he and the Mayor have told the public, which ran the gambit of issues from phony crime data, body cameras, OIS Investigations, etc. Included in that information and tips were very specific detail regarding Frank Straub’s issues with female employees not only here in Spokane but in Indianapolis, and White Plains as well. As those comments relate to the now public Cotton/Straub/Condon issue, which by the way was well known to people with the right wiretaps and bugs in place throughout the City, people should recall my continued persistence that the media should look into the terminations of, or transfers involving women employed at the SPD. Most notably the transfer of Carly Cortright a gal who was transferred from SPD to City Hall with SPD still paying her salary, and has only been obliquely mentioned in news reports regarding the Cotton/Straub/Condon issue. Why is Carly Cortright important? Because she was the money lady at SPD and according to some SPD insiders got in a beef with Straub over the way he was spending from the Forfeiture and Contributions Fund. Keep in mind I wasn’t the only individual that made comments about the Cortright issue another poster with sources at the SPD made similar comments. My attempts to have someone look into the Cortright issue went well beyond my comments in the SR and included several emails to not only media but also to City Council members, nothing of course was done. Beyond Carly Cortright I pressed to have someone look into the termination of Teresa Giannetto who was in charge of SPD records and was in a beef with Straub over records handling. There was also the termination of Melisa Nystrom, Tim Burns long time secretary, who was transferred to SPD in an attempt to give Tim Schwering the appearance of credibility in his role supervising IA Investigations. Nystrom failed a polygraph exam, something I might add the City Council was well aware of but did nothing about, nor bring it to the public’s attention perhaps because if that were public it would really make Tim Burns, and the OPO look bad.
Critically important in understanding how the public’s right to know has been blocked is by this FACT that has been widely known in the local journalism community (Gee come to think of it I’m now a member of that community now J) for over two years. In November of 2013 Addy Hatch received a considerable amount very negative information regarding Frank Straub including information which directly relates to this Cotton/Straub/Condon issue. The individual supplying the information (it wasn’t me) recommended an extensive background story on Straub to help shed light on the obvious things taking place at SPD many of which I had brought to light. Hatch’s answer to the individual was that she had assigned it to Jonathan Brunt who was going to work on the story when he returned from maternity leave. The story, if there ever really was one, was never published. Had that story been published back in 2013 it would have at a very minimum forced people including the Mayor and Council to take notice, answer questions, and take steps to prevent the mess we are in today.
Although some of the circumstances surrounding the transfers of Monique Cotton and Carly Cortright were fairly well known in the Law Enforcement Community this August 19th, 2015 piece by Nick Deshais was the first media report.
After Nick Deshais got the tip regarding Cotton/Cortright/Straub he filed this PRR with the City on August 18th, 2015.
Deshais’s August 18th PRR is very, very limited for the information he had available to him and you can see he is attempting to establish a relationship between Cotton and Straub by phone interaction, which in cases like this won’t work. In his defense however his request was prior to the Washington State Supreme Court Decision which ruled text messages even from private phones where government business is conducted are public records. According to Addy Hatch there were two other PRRs made by Deshais one on Aug. 20th, and Aug. 21st, again prior to the WSSC ruling. I have not received copies of those PRRs from the City as of yet, nor do I know if the SR has objected to them being provided to me. I guess we will have to see.
This is the August 20th, 2015 follow-up story by Deshais from the previous story.
Boy was there ever a lot to go after here from an investigative reporters’ perspective, all on the record stuff of course, no place to make off-the-record deals. You know darn good and well you are getting BS…if you can’t smell it there is something seriously wrong with your smeller or you are just lazy.
After the August 20th, 2015 article above there wasn’t much of anything done by Deshais or the SR to force the City’s hand to release PRR Documents…no stories about the slow response…nothing! So the question has to be WHY SIT BACK and let the City have their way with you???
While everyone is sitting back and waiting for the SR to do something this reporter is doing the gumshoe the SR should be doing but isn’t, one of the results of my gumshoe is this anonymous letter I received, which among other things that haven’t been followed up on by the SR also accuses the SR of an agreement to spike Cotton/Straub/Cotton stories until after the election…well folks…guess what…perhaps the anonymous tipster was right.
I received the letter prior to becoming a humble journalist and therefore chose to provide it to the SR via the comments section because I hoped it would force them to move on the story, and no one had moved on anything I had provided them by email in the past. I posted a copy of the letter as well as a copy of the envelope here:
Anyone posting something like the letter knows full well they will get some kind of reaction from the reporters involved, and likely a negative circle the wagons reaction which is quite typical of those with the power of the press who, much like Cops never deal with criticism well at all. A good investigative reporter instead of being defensive would have read the letter and said to themselves…Holy Crap here is a guy that has supplied information to us in the past that has proven to be dead on, now he has this and obviously contacts where we don’t I need to get ahold of this source and cultivate him whether I think he is a “confused Jeremiah” or not. Any good Detective, Investigator, or Investigative Journalist knows they are only as good as the sources they develop whether they like them or not.
Here is some of the circle the wagons responses I got as a result of posting the letter which of course were deleted as they really are an embarrassment to the SR…sound like Cops much??? J
Needless to say it became quite apparent someone had to do something to get the truth out, so here I am, with this Blog doing PRRs the way they should be done and at my own expense. It is important to understand that the real reason I was banned from commenting by the SR was because of my criticism of the SR as well as the embarrassment to them and had nothing to do with Andrew Scheldt, Sheila Chase or Chuck Tingstad.
ON TO THE PRR DOCUMENTS
Here are some very, very, important areas from the recent PRR Response the SR will NOT mention or follow up on…but I will. The opportunity for Nick Deshais to cover this stuff was there when he did his interviews for this story…but for some reason he either didn’t know what he had…or didn’t want to do what every good investigative reporter would do.
Let’s start with the letter and email exchange between Isserlis and Dunn, which by the way is fairly typical of emails and letters between lawyers.
The letters between Isserlis and Dunn are primarily lawyer’s ways of establishing a record for things down the line. The real meat is in the emails back and forth between the two which is going on simultaneously with the letters…so the best thing to do is to focus on the emails.
- June 8th, 2015 Isserlis tells her secretary Roxanne Imus to set up a phone appointment with Dunn to discuss his claim that he is owed money by the City. This tells us that there was very likely a phone conversation between Isserlis and Dunn about Cotton/Straub. Something to keep in mind as I have mentioned before this is the first kick at the can for the City where someone (me) has filed a PRR consistent with the Washington State Supreme Court Decision in the Lindquist case…and the City is at a loss on how to circumvent it. Unfortunately, what the WSSC Decision will do from this time forward is make government officials meet behind closed doors and stay away from text messages and emails, so it is even more critical that the media develop a pipeline of sources. An obvious question for both Dunn and Isserlis would be were there private meeting or phone conversations regarding the Cotton/Straub issue… Who, What, Where, When, and WHY?
- This one is a huge piece of evidence folks and supports everything I’ve been saying regarding the Forfeiture and Contributions Fund etc…so hopefully Rachel Alexander who is supposedly doing a story on that will take note. Why in the world would a reporter not ask Bob Dunn what evidence he had that the City was paying legal bills off the books under the cover of attorney client privilege when Dunn is on record stating it as fact and then you have Isserlis stating it is a violation of her new ethics ordinance…so WWWW and W Nick???? (I will have more on this later if Rachel doesn’t come through)
2. Nancy Isserlis uses her IPad to conduct City Business that is important whether it is the City’s IPad or her personal IPad.
3. So Mayor Condon now claims his only motive for his mishandling of the Cotton/Straub issues was to protect Monique Cotton. Well any good reporter would have asked Condon if that was true why would he have his lawyer try and force a formal complaint for a mere 13 grand. Condon was trying to protect someone all right…but it sure as hell wasn’t Monique Cotton.
Let’s now look at the exemption log that the SR will never show you because what it does is provide story leads that would require follow-ups. You will only see it here and it tells a lot about some of the things the City is trying to hide based on a claim of attorney client privilege. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here because this Blog Post is long enough…but the question of who controlled the candidates for Ombudsman is just one of the things that jumps out at you it was unquestionably Isserlis, Arleth, and Griffin.
I hope you folks enjoyed this post and found it interesting…I’m sure the people at the SR enjoyed it immensely.