This was going to be a holdback however given City Attorney Pat Daltons recent threats, or if you prefer difference of opinion regarding privilege issues, I thought it was important to bring forward now, to demonstrate how the PRIVLEGE GAME works.
In response to my PRR regarding Lynden Smithson I received this email from Laurie Farnsworth on February 8th, 2015. Included in the email was the attachment linked below which is some of the email interaction between players in many of the recent cases we are looking into. Please notice in the link the redactions made by the City Attorney’s Office and the reason for the redactions based upon attorney client privilege Laurie Farnsworth asserts in her email. Please also note she offers me a CD containing more emails (NOTE TO INESTIGATIVE REPORTERS: Always get everything!).
Redacted emails regarding Smithson:
To make it easier to read I have copied and pasted what Laurie Farnsworth states the reasons for the redactions were. Keep in mind the basis for the redactions are NOT Laurie Farnsworth’s, they are the City Attorney’s.
During the review, eight emails were determined to contain information *exempt from disclosure. Copies of the redacted emails are attached hereto as the second attachment entitled “Redacted Emails.” The redacted portions of the emails designated with a “#1” indicate emails containing communications between attorney and client or attorney staff and client, which include thoughts and impressions relayed, and/or advice or assistance sought or given in the course of the attorney-client relationship. The redactions are made pursuant to RCW 5.60.060 (Privileged communications).
The portions of the emails designated with a “#2” are communications between attorney and staff which contain information relating to a pending legal matter and are considered work product. The redactions are made pursuant to RCW 42.56.290(Agency party to a controversy).
In further response to your request, response, see the attached document provided by staff from the City Prosecutor’s Office (third attachment). For your information, one document located by Prosecutor’s Office staff has been determined to be exempt from disclosure. The one-page document contains text messages between City Attorney Nancy Isserlis and City Prosecutor Justin Bingham, dated April 15 and 17, 2015, and are communications between attorneys in the City Legal Department which contain information relating to a pending legal matter. The communications are considered work product, and the document is deemed to be exempt pursuant to RCW 42.56.290.
Please observe these dates and times on the image below;
“Tuesday, April 07, 2015 3:36 PM Isserlis to Kinyon”
“Tuesday, April 07, 2015 3:39 PM Kinyon response to Isserlis”
I of course did purchase the CD offered by Laurie Farnsworth and here is what I found:
Yes, I found exactly the same emails Un-Redacted. After reading what is actually in those emails I had to laugh at the City Attorney’s claim that they were exempt from disclosure based upon this claim:
“indicate emails containing communications between attorney and client or attorney staff and client, which include thoughts and impressions relayed, and/or advice or assistance sought or given in the course of the attorney-client relationship. The redactions are made pursuant to RCW 5.60.060 (Privileged communications).”
As anyone can tell from the Nancy Isserlis email to Kinyon at 3:36 PM she was worried too many people knew about Smithson’s paid administrative leave and word would get out. The secrete was safe until an investigative reporter uncovered it by actually studying PRR documents. So the question now is since they have been caught again whether they will continue the cover-ups?
This is a good place in this piece to point out something all government entities know including the Condon Administration. They have little to fear from private Citizens making PRRs or FOIAs as generally the average citizen doesn’t have the experience or financial wherewithal to expose a cover-up. They do however in some cities fear the press as most media have the finances to take them through the court process, however in Spokane the Condon administration has very little fear the largest media outlet will take that option. Government also fears folks with oversight responsibilities who have the power to take testimony under oath and subpoena power like the City Council has. In my view Nany Isserlis’s move via Pat Dalton demonstrates that fear.
I want to note that the CD did not contain an un-redacted copy of the Tuesday, April 07, 2015 3:44 PM Isserlis to Kinyon email. I’m not sure at this point exactly what that was.
Another significant redacted email was this one:
It sure makes one wonder what pending legal matter is going on.
“#2” are communications between attorney and staff which contain information relating to a pending legal matter and are considered work product. The redactions are made pursuant to RCW 42.56.290(Agency party to a controversy).
Having said all of this keep in mind that at this point the City Hearing Examiner is reviewing the redactions and items including the text messages being withheld from me, over my objection I might add. I hope he reads this!
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!