UPDATE… UPDATE…UPDATE !!!
Councilman Mike Fagan did respond quickly to me when I requested comments from him regarding this story. He also was willing to answer a number of questions I posed to him and I thank him for that. Among the questions he answered that related to this story was this one.
2) Do you feel it was ethical for Mayor Condon to accept money from John Stone while he was working as an aide to McMorris-Rogers?
“Without ALL of the facts, it would be improper to me to render judgement based what I have seen thus far. At a glance there is an appearance.”
Although the documents and press statements speak for themselves, as far as Mayor Condon receiving $15,000.00 from the Stone Family when he was working as an aide for Cathy McMorris-Rogers and sitting in on meetings as her representative, Councilman Fagan is accurate with respect to not having “ALL of the facts”. I have of course requested Mayor Condon comment on this story so I can ask the appropriate questions, but have not received a response. IF and WHEN I receive a response I will report it. The questions I would ask should be fairly obvious to all of my readers.
A recent story in the Spokesman Review regarding an ethics complaint by Mayor Condon associate Michael Cannon against Council President Ben Stuckart’s aide Adam McDaniel highlights some of the Liberal Vs Conservative gamesmanship we enjoy watching here in Spokane.
The new ethics complaint process written by City Attorney Nancy Isserlis makes for an interesting tool for both sides to attack the other. Whether the complaint is legit or not really makes no difference, the important thing is to get the negative press out there…and it works.
Many speculate that Cannon’s complaint was prompted because of his close relationship with Mayor Condon and Stuckart’s recent call for Condon to invoke Garrity on our public employees in the Cotton/Straub Investigation. In my view Stuckart won that one and it is apparent that Mayor Condon has no intention to force our employees to cooperate in the investigation which has really made the Mayor look bad, even in the eyes of many Conservatives. The question is… “If this complaint is part of a typical mudsling game will it work?”. The answer is… “Of course it will!”, at least with some segments of the Community, even though the move was bound to cause a little mud to rub off and attach to Conservative Mike Fagan for his outside political activities.
We won’t see Mayor Condon commenting on Cannon’s ethics complainant, although he is welcome to at any time with me, and I will certainly report on any comment he makes. Adam McDaniel has chosen not to comment because of the ongoing ethics complaint.
One of the questions I would ask the Mayor is… “Can you explain how your own outside activities while working as an aide for Cathy McMorris-Rogers are any different from what McDaniel’s outside activities are, and do you believe working for and receiving money from John Stone, while at the same time being CMR’s representative on issues involving his companies was a conflict or in the least bit ethical?” I would of course have a number of follow-up questions some will become obvious later in this story.
One thing I should point out is that for some reason Spokesman Review Reporters as of late never seem to ask our local politicians the pointed questions that are common place in most other Communities even though they have information that would provide important context and such is the case here.
A good place to start would be this 2012 SR Article written by Jonathan Brunt which deals with Condon’s family relationship with the John Stone Empire. You might notice the reference in the story to Condon having the Ethics Commission look into any conflicts. I’m not going to get into all of the business relationships the Condon’s have with John Stone, or the contracts Pacificlean has with the City of Spokane. Those business relationships are easy to find even with the recent changes to individuals listed as members in corporate filings with the Secretary of State (SRM, Barr-Tech, Pacificlean, etcetera). I will mention however that Stone along with some of his business partners and the Cowles Family are strong Condon supporters and contributors.
The key thing for me in that article is Condon’s admission to Brunt that he did sit in on meetings regarding issues involving some of John Stone’s interests.
Now to the Nitty Gritty!
For folks that don’t know all Congressional Staffers are required by law to report under the penalty of perjury their outside income and Mayor Condon did just that in 2010 while he was an aide to CMR. Here is what is interesting about Mayor Condon’s 2010 outside income that he reported.
I guess some folks, and reporters, would take a look at Condon’s reported outside income and say… “Oh…it looks like he did $15,000.00 worth of consulting for a fish and chips joint named “Captain Jack LLC”…but when one checks… Captain Jack LLC ain’t no fish and chips joint, as a matter of fact I will be darned if I have been able to determine what type of business Captain Jack LLC actually was…so I would have to ask Mayor Condon what the business was and exactly what type of consulting did they get for $15,000.00.
One of the first things you notice when you run the filings on Captain Jack LLC is that the Agent is Bryan P Stone of the Stone family who is pretty prolific at setting up LLCs. You also note that the sole member listed is Captain Charlie LLC.
One might also notice that Captain Jack LLC was set up in 2004, expired 07/31/2010, and went inactive 11/01/2010, which is interesting since Mayor Condon filed his required paperwork in May of 2010. Whatever “Consulting” the Mayor did for Captain Jack LLC must not have helped the business it was in, whatever that was.
It is pretty easy for anyone to determine who the first back company is for an LLC like Captain Jack LLC when folks aren’t that slick about it. So here is the back company for Captain Jack LLC… “Captain Charlie LLC”:
It makes it pretty plain, at least to me, where the 15 Grand came from…so the question is… “Did the Stone Family payment to Condon while he was an aide to CMR represent a conflict of interest and ethics violation as his friend Cannon alleges was perpetrated by McDaniel?”
Don’t think for a second that political gamesmanship doesn’t take place on both sides of the political spectrum…it does…and around Spokane it is really easy to get away with because no one seems to care and for the most part local media doesn’t bother to take an in-depth look at what is actually going on.
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!
(* Coming soon a story regarding an old WSP investigation into a former State employee)