This story appeared in the Spokesman Review yesterday but really doesn’t tell us anything new regarding attempts by the Condon Administration to keep the facts surrounding the Cotton/Straub case from the public. In the end however it will give the Citizens of Spokane evidence as to whether or not the City Council’s “Independent Investigation” meets truth seeking standards.
The story linked above is just a reiteration of this Inlander story:
Poor Nancy Krier I’ve been bugging her too! 🙂
Just as a heads up regarding Laura McAloon mentioned in the story and a look at her public statements from the SR story.
McAloon is longtime friend of Mayor Condon’s so her appointment to the committee by Condon was suspect to me from the beginning and it should have been to others.
“Laura McAloon, who was appointed to the committee by Condon, asked the committee’s other members if the investigation should move forward because it likely would uncover actions by city officials that would lead to lawsuits.”
Well of course she said that, don’t be silly, there isn’t a Condon supporter who wants this investigation to move forward and get the truth out, Condon’s political career would take a big hit and the coattail riders wouldn’t have anywhere to go.
“McAloon, an attorney, said she is on the committee “as a citizen” and as “part of my civic duty.” She said she was not providing legal advice to the city and would not speak about what was discussed by the joint committee.”
Ms. McAloon of course had to make this public comment because she may be treading on thin ice as far as the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers are concerned. It wouldn’t surprise me to see McAloon step down from the committee and her “Civic Duty” while at the same time claiming the “Independent Investigation” is a farce, or she could hold on wait tell the report comes out and do the same. If McAloon made the statements attributed to her to other members of the committee she should step down as her predisposition is obvious.
Let’s be perfectly clear…no matter what the “Independent Investigation” finds we will hear this same old tune one way or the other… “It was a political hit job.”
So how do we as Citizens know if the Independent Investigation is legit?
Pretty Simple really, all we have to do is see if the investigator used standard investigative practices to formulate questions under oath. A good investigator will go back and look at all the public statements made in the media by all the various players and ask direct and pointed questions of those individuals under oath. Because of all the media attention to this story the examples are endless but I’ll just use this SR story as an example.
Any investigator can easily figure out what the Condon administration is trying to do with this recently disclosed move. It is all about the private meeting that was held the day before Straub was canned and what was said during that meeting. Even a rookie could figure this one out.
“if they disclose information from a private meeting among city leaders held the day before Police Chief Straub was fired – even if asked to testify to city committees charged with investigating potential mismanagement in Mayor David Condon’s administration.”
The Mayor doesn’t want anyone to testify under oath that he and others in his administration didn’t tell the truth or the whole story about Straub’s firing and most assuredly about the Cotton/Straub issue which took place months earlier. So how does an investigator know that? It is simple. Remember the Cotton/Straub story was kept secret from everyone until the media including Nick Deshais and myself were tipped about it. The facts did not start to come out until after his PRR and my own. Months after the meeting as the true story started to come out Stuckart made this public statement about being lied to.
“When public records were released in November showing that Condon, City Administrator Theresa Sanders and City Attorney Nancy Isserlis knew of accusations of sexual harassment against Straub months before he was forced out, Stuckart said he had been “lied to” by Sanders and Condon.”
Formulating questions about what took place at the meeting the day prior to Straub’s firing is a piece of cake even if some of the individuals claim the communications were privileged and refuse to answer questions. I won’t let the entire cat out of the bag here, let’s see what the investigator does, But the very first thing she must establish is exactly who was present at the meeting and why they were asked to attend. She then has to ask if there was any communication prior to, after, or during the meeting and the type of communication, the answers, or non-answers to those questions establish the framework for further investigation.
So who does a good investigator interview first? The answer is right here!
“The email was also sent to Chris Wright, president of the park board; Andy Dunau, member of the park board; Rick Eichstaedt, executive director of the Center for Justice; Assistant City Attorney Mike Piccolo; and Isserlis.”
The very first thing an investigator notices is who was threatened by the City Attorney’s Office that was NOT employed, appointed, or elected to a position in City Government…why you might ask…it is simple and lawyers know the answer…well at least investigators do. Attorney-Client Privilege is waived when a third party is allowed to participate in conversations between clients and lawyers, so obviously you start with “Rick Eichstaedt the executive director of the Center for Justice”, and you begin with this groundwork.
- Mr Eichstaedt, are you employed, appointed, or elected, to any position with the City of Spokane?
- Did you attend a meeting of City Leaders the day prior to the termination of Frank Straub?
- Who invited you to the meeting?
- What was your role at the meeting?
- Were you asked to sign any type of confidentiality agreement?
- Did you take notes of the meeting?
- What type of communication was utilized to request your presence at the meeting?
- At any time during the meeting was the name Monique Cotton or Carly Cortright brought up?
Okay the above is SOP for investigators…we shall see what we get.
So how will we know if the Citizens are getting a legit “Independent Investigation?
That is another simple one, and it is something the City Council should be informing all of the players, the media, and the Citizens of what their intention is as far as transparency is concerned.
The Spokane City Charter empowers the City Council to hold public hearings and enforce the attendance of witnesses and documents, as well as take testimony under oath. Once the City Council receives the report from the Investigator if they find any unanswered questions and if they truly want transparency they must have a public hearing, take testimony under oath and let the public get the real story including the testimony under oath of the Mayor, City Administrator, and City Attorney. I wonder how many folks will take FIVE?
Section 117: Power to Subpoena Witnesses
The council shall have the power to enforce the attendance of witnesses and the production of all books, papers, documents, and files, and to administer oaths in all matters relating to the administration of City affairs or business.
In other news I received a response from Teri Pfister last evening that really casts doubt on the credibility of “notes” mentioned in this story which hopefully I will be able to report on later today.
I did not watch what has been described to me as a softball game between four people on KSPS last night do to other commitments so I have to catch up on that. I’m told that Mayor Condon was asked directly by Nick Deshais if he regretted anything during his last four years in office, Condon danced and went into the ongoing investigation non answer, and Deshais didn’t follow up with the obvious reporter question…” My question was Mr. Mayor do you regret anything during the last four years of your administration including the hiring of Frank Straub which you were warned against doing, an answer to the question Mr Mayor as to whether or not you now regret hiring Frank Straub has nothing to do with any ongoing investigation?”
I was also informed that Mayor Condon made an oblique reference to information first reported here regarding James McDevitt, and the fact that organizations provide experienced quality interim Police Chiefs for the same situation we are now in…but no matter how he wants to play it cronies are cronies. STAY TUNED and I’ll update this story.
UPDATE: I watched the KSPS “Talk to The City” show and my source was right on. More like “The City Talks to You”,4-5 questions from the public and NO pointed questions from the moderators they completely let the Mayor dance. Two things that came out of it were that as I reported the City Council did submit questions to Condon regarding McDevitt, and Condon came up with an after the fact phony excuse for not seeking a qualified Interim Police Chief from any of the various organizations that make them available, and which I reported here.
I should note that I have been informed that among my many followers are folks at City Hall including Mayor Condon and Brian Coddington, which is good, but it kind of skews my site visit data. The Mayor should probably talk to the new “Director of Law Enforcement”, if there is such a thing, and ask him what “Investigative Holdbacks” are. 🙂
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!